Webb Space Telescope reveals first image, more to come this morning at 10:30 a.m. EST

July 12, 2022 • 8:00 am

You all know that yesterday and today began the public roll-out of photos from the Webb Space Telescope. And the first one, released yesterday and shown below, is a doozy.  Farther down I’ll tell you how to watch when today’s allotment is reveal. First, the photo and what NASA had to say about it (my emphasis). Remember, though, that the photos will be revealed 1½ hours after this post goes up.

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 – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared – have appeared in Webb’s view for the first time. This slice of the vast universe covers a patch of sky approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on the ground.

This deep field, taken by Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), is a composite made from images at different wavelengths, totaling 12.5 hours – achieving depths at infrared wavelengths beyond the Hubble Space Telescope’s deepest fields, which took weeks.

The image shows the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago. The combined mass of this galaxy cluster acts as a gravitational lens, magnifying much more distant galaxies behind it. Webb’s NIRCam has brought those distant galaxies into sharp focus – they have tiny, faint structures that have never been seen before, including star clusters and diffuse features. Researchers will soon begin to learn more about the galaxies’ masses, ages, histories, and compositions, as Webb seeks the earliest galaxies in the universe.

This image is among the telescope’s first-full color images. The full suite will be released Tuesday, July 12, beginning at 10:30 a.m. EDT, during a live NASA TV broadcast.

Here’s that stunning photo. Be sure to go to the NASA YouTube site below at 10:30 this morning:

Matthew sent two tweets showing the vastly improved vision of the sky that Webb’s afforded us. Be sure to click on the arrows to see the two two-photo gifs:

A one-minute video showing the improvement compared to previous optical instruments.

Doesn’t that make you feel small? The “pale blue dot” pales before such an image. But we should also be very proud of our species for creating an instrument that can show us the Universe and our place in it.

When and where to watch:

The Verge gives us the schedule for releasing the photos this morning:

Tuesday, July 12 (Image Release Day)

9:45 a.m. – Live, opening remarks by agency and Webb leadership will air on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website ahead of the first images release.

10:30 a.m. – Live coverage of the image release broadcast will air on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. The public also can watch live on FacebookTwitterYouTubeTwitch, and Daily Motion.

. . .NASA has planned a series of briefings on July 12th to roll out the rest of the images. First, at 9:45AM ET, there will be opening remarks by leadership at NASA and the JWST team. Then, at 10:30AM ET, NASA should reveal the remaining images during a live broadcast, which will be followed by a media press conference at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center at 12:30PM ET. It’s going to be a jam-packed day of content, but if you’re looking to just see the remaining images, 10:30AM ET is the time to tune in.

Scheduled time: New York: 10:30AM / San Francisco: 7:30AM / London: 3:30PM / Berlin: 4:30PM / Moscow: 5:30PM / New Delhi: 8:00PM / Beijing: 10:30PM / Tokyo: 11:30PM / Melbourne: 12:30AM

And you can conveniently watch the release at NASA’s YouTube site below. The site will host festivities after the photo release and there will be more stuff on Wednesday, though no new photos. Consult the NASA site for details.

15 thoughts on “Webb Space Telescope reveals first image, more to come this morning at 10:30 a.m. EST

  1. My initial thought was that it looked like the Hubble photo. Which _is_ true. “Looks _like_.”

    But that’s pretty much meaningless.

    Then it started seeping in – there are more objects – there is a greater intensity range – and the … I had a double-take .. lensing? Really?

    Really. The photo is at the end just a photo, but the _understanding_ of it – the depth of the process, the precision and skill, the location and size of this hardware, the the vast depth remaining to look into – that has been there all along – THAT is what stuns me. Stun is a pretty good word for it. Exhilarating as well.

  2. This is soooo totally cool. But also we all should celebrate just how damn smoothly this whole prolonged deployment had played out. For some years we could see and worry about how complicated this thing would be. The telescope needed to unfold its shield, mirror segments, and various instruments just right, and if anything went wrong then well too bad. But it all deployed like a CG animation.

    1. Yes! They should have shown all 5 images with short descriptions of what we’re looking at and then go to all the educational content. I get that all these people want their 15 minutes but jeez. Too much “human interest”, just like the evening news.

  3. And to think, God created it all just for us! /s

    This is the type of reveal that makes humans’ belief in “god, creator of the universe who loves us” outrageously stupid.

    1. (I get your /s)

      It’s actually all decomposing as entropy increases as we watch it – if anything was created, it was the big bang.

  4. After so many delays in the development of this telescope, seeing the first images come in, and their astounding quality, is such a moving and exhilarating experience.

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