USA President Joe Biden released the first full-colour image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, during a public event at the White House in Washington.
This first image showcases the capabilities of the Webb mission, a partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency).
Speaking about the image, President Biden said: “These images are going to remind the world that America can do big things, and remind the American people – especially our children – that there’s nothing beyond our capacity. We can see possibilities no one has ever seen before. We can go places no one has ever gone before.”
Webb’s first full-colour image reveals a cluster of galaxies, called SMACS 0723, that functions as a massive lens, magnifying the extremely faint and cosmically distant objects behind it.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson added: “Webb’s First Deep Field is not only the first full-colour image from the James Webb Space Telescope, it’s the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe, so far. This image covers a patch of sky approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length. It’s just a tiny sliver of the vast universe. This mission was made possible by human ingenuity – the incredible NASA Webb team and our international partners at the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. Webb is just the start of what we can accomplish in the future when we work together for the benefit of humanity.”
John Mather, Webb senior project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, stated: “Scientists are thrilled that Webb is alive and as powerful as we hoped, far beyond Hubble, and that it survived all hazards to be our golden eye in the sky. What happened after the big bang? How did the expanding universe cool down and make black holes and galaxies and stars and planets and people? Astronomers see everything twice: first with pictures, and then with imagination and calculation. But there’s something out there that we’ve never imagined, and I will be as amazed as you are when we find it.”