US President Joe Biden published on Monday the first photo from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope – an image of a cluster of galaxies that reveals the most detailed picture of the early universe ever seen.
Webb’s first high-resolution image came on the eve of a larger release of photos and spectroscopic data that the NASA plans to present Tuesday at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
The image presented by Biden and NASA chief Bill Nelson shows the 4.6-billion-year-old galaxy cluster called SMACS 0723, whose combined mass acts as a “gravitational lens,” warping space to greatly magnify the light that it comes from more distant galaxies behind it, as reported by the Reuters agency.
At least one of the faint, older light features seen in the photo’s “background” — a composite of images of different wavelengths of light — dates back more than 13 billion years, Nelson said. That makes it just 800 million years younger than the Big Bang, the theoretical flashpoint that set in motion the expansion of the known universe about 13.8 billion years ago.
“It’s a new window into the history of our universe,” Biden said before the photo was unveiled. “And today we will get a glimpse of the first light to shine through that window: light from other worlds, orbiting stars far beyond our own. It’s amazing to me.”
He was joined in the Old Executive Office Building of the White House complex by Vice President Kamala Harris, who chairs the US National Space Council.
Source: News Beast
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