Costing $10billion (£8.3billion) to construct, NASA’s James Webb telescope is essentially the most powerful space telescope ever to have been launched into space. Meant to be the spiritual successor to the Hubble Observatory, James Webb brings with it vastly improved infrared resolution and sensitivity, and might capture images which can be too distant, faint and old for detection by any before it.
After having recently aligned itself in space, NASA has released a latest image that gives the deepest glimpse into the universe ever, revealing lots of of various galaxies.
The image was captured by the Telescope’s Effective Guidance Sensor (FGS) over an eight-day period in May, encompassing 72 snapshots taken during 32 hours of exposure time.
While the FGS was not a scientific instrument but moderately a tool to orient the observatory properly, the image offers a glimpse into what’s to return once the James Webb Telescope is fully online and prepared to be used by scientists.
In an announcement, NASA said: “When FGS’ aperture is open, it shouldn’t be using color filters like the opposite science instruments – meaning it’s inconceivable to review the age of the galaxies on this image with the rigour needed for scientific evaluation.
“But even when capturing unplanned imagery during a test, FGS is capable of manufacturing stunning views of the cosmos.”
Neil Rowlands, programme scientist for Webb’s Effective Guidance Sensor, at Honeywell Aerospace said: “With the Webb telescope achieving better-than-expected image quality, early in commissioning we intentionally defocused the guiders by a small amount to assist ensure they met their performance requirements.
“When this image was taken, I used to be thrilled to obviously see all of the detailed structure in these faint galaxies.
“Given what we now know is feasible with deep broad-band guider images, perhaps such images, taken in parallel with other observations where feasible, could prove scientifically useful in the long run.”
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