The World’s Most Powerful Telescope’s First Snapshot of Our Universe: 5 Points

James Webb Space Telescope Image: The James Webb Space Telescope is a tennis court-sized observatory.

US President Joe Biden today released the first full-color image being made public by NASA from the James Webb Space Telescope.

Here are the top 5 points of this big story:

  1. The James Webb Space Telescope—the world’s largest and most powerful space telescope—was built by aerospace giant Northrop Grumman Corp and was launched into space in December 2021 from French Guiana for NASA and its European and Canadian counterparts.

  2. The telescope’s primary mirror is an array of 18 hexagonal segments of beryllium metal coated in gold that helps it see objects at greater distances than the Hubble Telescope, thus further back in time.

  3. The James Webb Space Telescope has five initial targets, including new stars – the Carina Nebula and the Southern Ring Nebula, each thousands of light years away from Earth.

  4. The collection will also include two very different sets of galaxy clusters—Stephen’s Quintet—first identified in 1877—and a more recent discovery called SMACS 0723.

  5. NASA will also present the telescope’s first spectrographic analysis of an exoplanet – nearly half the mass of Jupiter that is more than 1,100 light-years away.