Just over six months have passed since a European rocket launched the James Webb Space Telescope into orbit. Now, there are less than two weeks to go before the first images taken by NASA’s complex next-generation equipment are revealed to the world by the agency.
Some of them have already been captured and processed by the team of scientists, and others are still to come until the grand opening day of this new era of space observations.
“Images are being taken now,” Thomas Zurbuchen, who leads NASA’s science programs, said during a press conference on Wednesday. “There is already some amazing science in the can, and a few more are yet to be taken as we go along. We are in the midst of getting the history creation data of the universe.”
According to the plan, the first images taken by the James Webb telescope will be released on July 12, at 11:30 am (GMT), on all the agency’s digital platforms, which include the website, social networks, NASA TV and the YouTube channel, in addition to the app.
Among the observations that will be revealed is “the deepest image ever taken of the universe”, in the words of the agency’s administrator, Bill Nelson. While he didn’t specify which objects in the early universe the telescope focused on, nor how old those targets were, he said the images will show the first objects ever seen. “This is further than humanity has ever looked before, and we are just beginning to understand what Webb can and will do,” he added.
according to the website Ars Technica, whoever had access to this mystery kept under lock and key says they were moved by what they saw. NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, for example, revealed that she was impressed with the images Webb has produced so far. “What I saw moved me, as a scientist, as an engineer and as a human being.”
Zurbuchen said he, too, was in awe of what the telescope had proven to be capable of and that he nearly cried when he saw the first pictures taken by the spacecraft. “It’s really hard not to look at the universe in a new light and not have a moment that is deeply personal,” he said. “It’s an emotional moment where you see nature suddenly releasing some of its secrets.”
These words further increase the anticipation of those who were already curious and anxious. But if we wait 20 years for that, two weeks is nothing. Hold on, heart!
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