President Joe Biden introduces the James Webb Space Telescope's first glimpse into the early Universe
President Joe Biden on Monday unveiled the James Webb Space Telescope's first peek into the distant cosmos.
The dazzling picture is a snapshot of objects located more than 13 billion lightyears from Earth that formed only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. The streaks strewn throughout it are an effect of gravitational lensing, caused by distortions in spacetime by massive bodies. Astronomers can use this phenomenon to calculate properties such as the distance, mass, and age of what is being observed.
Biden was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Administrator Bill Nelson, and leading scientists from the thousands-strong team that manages the most powerful telescope ever launched into space.
Watch the press briefing below:
WATCH LIVE: Biden offers first peek of historic image from James Webb Space Telescope www.youtube.com
"This first image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date. Known as Webb’s First Deep Field, this image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 is overflowing with detail," the agency explained on its website. "Thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared – have appeared in Webb’s view for the first time. This slice of the vast universe covers a patch of sky approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on the ground."
View it below:
Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI
The rest of Webb's premier image set will be publicly released on Tuesday.
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