NASA’S $10 billion James Webb Telescope dropped a full batch of pictures, taking the nation by storm.
"I personally went in and had an ugly cry, because it works – what the engineers have done to build this thing is amazing," Webb Operations Scientist Jane Rigby said.
On Monday, NASA and the White House gave the public a sneak peek of Webb's photos, showing a patch of sky sprinkled with galaxies.
Among the newly released images are breathtaking views of a group of five galaxies called Stephan’s Quintet, discovered in 1877, the Carina Nebula, where stars are born and the Southern Ring Nebula, a huge cloud of gas around a dying star.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has produced 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. Thousands of galaxies – incl (NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI)
Another image shows the first look at the spectrum of a giant blue planet called Wasp-96b, about the size of Saturn, located outside our solar system. While the planet is not a good candidate for human life, it gives the Christopher Columbus’ of space, a map to search for life beyond Earth.
"The astounding detail that you can see in some of these galaxies, star-forming regions, distinct galaxies and they just pop out! There is so much detail, we use that corny acronym, but it's like seeing in high definition," Amber Straughn, Webb deputy project scientist, said.
The Webb telescope launched into space Dec. 25, 2021. The spacecraft is the size of a tennis court, equipped with "eyes" that pierce through the dust and gas that hide stars and galaxies.
Researchers say Webb can answer questions about the universe from as far back as 100 million years after the big bang.
The world's vehicle for deep-space exploration is open for business. "All aboard," NASA HQ Webb program scientist Eric Smith, said.