NASA’s New Telescope Delivers Deepest Infrared Image of Universe Yet
NASA’s New Telescope Delivers Deepest Infrared Image of Universe Yet

NASA’s New Telescope Delivers Deepest Infrared Image of Universe Yet

12 july, 20221 minute to read
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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has produced the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date. It was unveiled by the US president Joe Biden during a White House event Monday, July 11.

This image shows in detail the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, a patch of sky approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on the ground. Even though it does not seem that much, the image has revealed thousands of galaxies in a tiny sliver of the vast universe.

NASA explains how they managed to achieve that:

This deep field, taken by Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), is a composite made from images at different wavelengths, totaling 12.5 hours – achieving depths at infrared wavelengths beyond the Hubble Space Telescope’s deepest fields, which took weeks.

The image shows the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago. The reasons why this cluster was not so well studied previously goes back to its mass. It acts as a gravitational lens, magnifying much more distant galaxies behind it. Webb’s NIRCam has brought those distant galaxies into sharp focus – they have tiny, faint structures that have never been seen before, including star clusters and diffuse features.

Researchers will soon begin to learn more about the galaxies’ masses, ages, histories, and compositions, as Webb seeks the earliest galaxies in the universe.

12 july, 2022
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