NASA releases ‘deepest’ and ‘fastest’ infrared image ever seen of the universe

New Delhi: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Monday (July 11, 2022) released the first image from its James Webb Space Telescope, an image of a galaxy cluster that shows the most detailed glimpse of the early universe ever observed. This image is the deepest and sharpest infrared image ever taken of the distant universe. Thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever seen in the infrared – have appeared in Webb’s view for the first time.

Known as Webb’s first deep field, this image of a 4.6-billion-year-old galaxy cluster called SMACS 0723 was released by US President Joe Biden at a preview event at the White House in Washington. NASA, in partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency), will release Webb’s first full-color images and a complete set of spectroscopic data during a television broadcast on Tuesday.

NASA chief Bill Nelson said at least one faint, old spectacle of light visible in the “background” of the photo – a composite of images of different wavelengths of light – is more than 13 billion years old. This makes it just 800 million years younger than the Big Bang, the theoretical flashpoint that set in motion the expansion of the known universe about 13.8 billion years ago.

‘A historic day’: Joe Biden on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s infrared image of the universe

Before the unveiling of the James Webb Space Telescope photo, Joe Biden said, “When this image is shared with the world, it is a tribute to science and technology, to astronomy and space exploration, to America and to humanity as a whole. It will be a historic moment.”

“This is a new window into the history of our universe,” he said.

The US president said, “And today we’re going to have a glimpse of the first light to shine through that window: light from other worlds, orbiting stars far away from our own. That’s amazing to me.”

He was joined by US Vice President Kamala Harris, who chairs the US National Space Council, in the old executive office building of the White House complex.