NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced this Wednesday (29) that the United States space agency will reveal on July 12 the “deepest image of our universe ever obtained”, thanks to the recently released James Webb Space Telescope.
“If you think about it, this is the farthest humanity has ever seen,” Nelson told a news conference at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, the center of operations for the $10 billion observatory. billion) launched in December last year and which now orbits the Sun 1.5 million km from Earth.
A marvel of engineering, the Webb Telescope is able to peer farther into space than any other telescope has ever done, thanks to its massive main mirror and infrared focusing instruments, allowing its view through cosmic gas and dust.
“The telescope will explore objects in the solar system and the atmospheres of exoplanets orbiting other stars, giving us clues as to whether or not their atmospheres are similar to ours,” added Nelson, speaking by phone.
“That might answer some of the questions we have: Where did we come from? What else is out there? Who are we? And of course it’s going to answer things we don’t even know yet.”
The Webb telescope’s infrared capabilities allow us to look further back in time to the Big Bang, which occurred 13.8 billion years ago.
As the universe expands, light from the first stars shifts from ultraviolet wavelengths in the visible spectrum in which it was emitted to longer wavelengths, corresponding to infrared wavelengths that Webb is ready to detect at an unparalleled resolution. precedents.
Currently, the most distant observations of the cosmos are within 330 million years after the Big Bang, but with Webb, astronomers believe that this limit can easily be crossed.