NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope captured a stunning image showing thousands of ancient galaxies deep in space. The picture provides us the deepest glimpse into the cosmos yet.
US President Joe Biden revealed the image, which shows a cluster of galaxies deep into space called SMACS 0723, which is also known as First Deep Field at the White House on Monday.
The image provides “a new window into the history of our universe,” Biden stated. “It’s hard to even fathom…It’s astounding. It’s an historic moment for science and technology, for America and all of humanity,” he continued.
The $10 billion Webb Telescope’s sensitive and sharp Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) was able to etch out tiny details from deep space unlike any that have been captured in the past.
The picture was created from a composite of a number of images captured by the camera at various wavelengths that reached far into the depths of space. The process of creating the image took weeks.
NASA image shows space as it was billions of years ago
The stunning picture shows space as it was a stunning 4.6 billion years ago, and the sensitive, high-powered camera as shown details the galaxies’ structures that were previously unknown, including star clusters.
However, the galaxies captured in the background stretch back even further to around 13 billion years ago.
“We are looking back more than 13 billion years,” he said, adding that more images to be released by the space agency would reach back further to about 13.5 billion years close to the estimated starting point of the universe itself. “We are going back almost to the beginning,” Bill Nelson, administrator of NASA stated.
Astronomers and experts will be able to use the images to further their understanding of distant galaxies as well as our own.
All of this detail was captured in an image that shows an extremely small area of space. “This slice of the vast universe covers a patch of sky approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on the ground,” a statement from NASA reads.
The Webb telescope, which was created in collaboration with the European Space Agency, took decades to be completed. Work on what many call the most powerful telescope ever began in the 1990s, and the device only went into space in December. It is currently positioned about one million miles from Earth.