The Washington Post

Webb space telescope captures stunning images

- BY HABEN KELATI

NASA released the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope on July 12. The telescope — the most powerful sent to space — was launched December 25 and now orbits the sun, about 1 million miles from Earth. Webb’s camera can see infrared light, a light the human eye cannot see, from the early universe, about 13.5 billion years ago.

The Webb telescope is larger and can look deeper into space than the Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble was launched in 1990 and has made more than 1.5 million observatio­ns while orbiting Earth. Most of Hubble’s images are not infrared, so they are often clouded by dust and gas that Webb can see through.

The Webb telescope will explore four categories of science: early universe, galaxies over time, the star life cycle and other worlds. Over the next 51/ years or more, the telescope

2 will observe galaxies that formed about 400 million years after the Big Bang — which is the idea that the universe began at a single point and expanded from there.

Astronomer­s have waited a long time for these first images. Constructi­on of Webb’s parts began in 2004, and assembly and testing started in 2013 at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The project involved help from other NASA facilities and private companies, as well as the Canadian and European space agencies.

Astronomer­s around the world — many of whom expressed delight last week on social media after seeing the images — will work with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore to study the photos Webb captures and perhaps find answers to questions about the early universe.

 ?? NASA/REUTERS ?? NASA’S James Webb Space Telescope — the most powerful ever sent to space — was launched December 25 and orbits the sun about 1 million miles from Earth.
NASA/REUTERS NASA’S James Webb Space Telescope — the most powerful ever sent to space — was launched December 25 and orbits the sun about 1 million miles from Earth.
 ?? ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: The telescope reveals details in a group of five galaxies; Webb shows the bright star at the center of the NGC 3132 planetary nebula (or “Southern Ring Nebula”) in near-infrared light; this image shows a cloak of dust around a star at the center of the Southern Ring Nebula.
ASSOCIATED PRESS CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: The telescope reveals details in a group of five galaxies; Webb shows the bright star at the center of the NGC 3132 planetary nebula (or “Southern Ring Nebula”) in near-infrared light; this image shows a cloak of dust around a star at the center of the Southern Ring Nebula.
 ?? NASA/AGENCE france-presse/getty IMAGES ??
NASA/AGENCE france-presse/getty IMAGES

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