July 12, 2022
The first images of the universe captured by NASA’s new flagship telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, are worth more than a thousand words.
The images, released July 12, show nebulas, galaxy clusters and exoplanets in unprecedented and stunning detail.
The telescope, commonly referred to as JWST, launched last December off the coast of French Guiana. It is the successor to the Hubble Telescope, but larger and even more complex. In the months since it launched, it has gone through a complex process to unfold and calibrate itself, settling into its spot in orbit a million miles away from Earth.
“These are some of the sharpest images of the universe ever taken by humanity,” said University of Chicago astrophysicist Michael Gladders, who is part of several international teams taking data with JWST in these first few months.
“Looking at these images reminds me why I’m in this business—why I devote my time and energy and life to this kind of research,” he said, “because there are moments like this where it’s just extraordinary.”