NASA sent the astronomical community into a frenzy last week with the highly anticipated release of the first images taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.
Infrared images represent the deepest and sharpest glimpse of humanity in the early universe.
The first of these – previewed by the Biden administration at the White House on July 11 – reveals twinkling stars and galaxies contained within a speck of sky no bigger than a taut grain of sand at arm’s length. Another reveals a ghostly landscape of “mountains” and “valleys” carved by stellar winds in a nearby star-forming region in the Carina Nebula.
Upon seeing the first trove of images from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the Stanford astrophysicist and cosmologist Risa Wechsler recalled the initial glimpse of the universe captured by another space observatory many years ago.
“I had just started my graduate studies when Hubble Deep Field came out, and it had a huge impact on our understanding of galaxies and the universe,” says Wechsler, director of the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Cosmology. particles (KIPAC) and professor. physics and particle physics and astrophysics.
“I expect JWST to be at least as transformative, and I can’t wait to see what people do creatively with the telescope.”
Here, Wechsler reacts to the images and explains some of their meaning:
Source: Maddi Langweil for Stanford University