US President Joe Biden on Monday unveiled the first image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, which shows a cluster of galaxies with unprecedented precision, while the device should provide unprecedented information on the cosmos. .
The photo shows the cluster of galaxies referred to as SMACS 0723, more than 4 billion years old. According to NASA Director General Bill Nelson, at least one of the light streaks appearing in the “background” of the photo is over 13 billion years old, or just 800 million years old. after the Big Bang.
“It’s a new window on the story of our universe“said Joe Biden before unveiling the image.
The French National Center for Space Studies (CNES) pointed out on Twitter that the image released on Monday is “the most accurate and farthest ever obtained. It represents a portion of the sky equivalent to the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length.
Search for evidence of life in the universe
This photo released by the White House serves as a foretaste of the series of photos and spectrographic data that the American space agency, NASA, plans to unveil tuesday from a space center located in the State of Maryland.
Webb, designed by NASA to help shed light on the birth of the first galaxies, had reached its final destination in solar orbit last January, around 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.
Composed of a set of 18 hexagonal segments made of beryllium metal coated with gold and measuring 6.5 meters in diameter, the telescope can collect more light and observe more distant objects than its Hubble predecessor does and other telescopes.
It should allowto get never-before-seen information about the cosmosdating to just 100 million years after the Big Bang – the theoretical explosion that triggered the expansion of the observable universe around 13.8 billion years ago.
His instruments also make Webb ideal for look for evidence of potentially life-sustaining atmospheres around dozens of recently documented exoplanets – celestial bodies orbiting distant stars – and to observe worlds much closer to us, such as Mars and Titan, Saturn’s icy moon.
Webb is the result of an international collaboration led by NASA with the European and Canadian space agencies.
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