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Side-By-Side Images From The James Webb And Hubble Space Telescopes

Side-By-Side Images From The James Webb And Hubble Space Telescopes

NASA has revealed the first images from 'the most powerful space telescope ever made'.

NASA has revealed the first images from what it describes as 'the most powerful space telescope ever made'.

On Tuesday 12 July, during a televised broadcast at 10:30am EDT (14:30 UTC),  NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland released images taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.

The images have left scientists completely stunned, after revealing the most detailed portrait ever seen of space, its galaxies and countless stars.

The photos taken by the $10 billion infrared space observatory offered a particularly stark contrast to those previously captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.

The images taken from the James Webb Space Telescope - a partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency) - mark its first full-colour images and spectroscopic data.

The pictures reveal even more information about the Carina Nebula, Stephan's Quintet, Southern Ring Nebula, WASP-96 b and SMACS 0723, according to NASA.

The Webb reveals 'previously invisible areas of star birth' within the Carina Nebula, as well as producing its largest image 'to date' with its photograph of the 'enormous mosaic' of Stephan's Quintet.

The telescope has also discovered that the star at the centre of the Southern Ring Nebula is 'cloaked in dust'. Its observation of the WASP-96 b demonstrates 'Webb’s unprecedented ability to analyse atmospheres hundreds of light-years away' and it's 'image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 is overflowing with detail'.

Before the James Webb Space Telescope, record-breaking discoveries were made by the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Webb telescope - a result of 25 years of hard work - was first launched on Christmas Day 2021.

"After completing a complex deployment sequence in space, Webb underwent months of commissioning where its mirrors were aligned, and its instruments were calibrated to its space environment and prepared for science," NASA reports.

It now has four state-of-the-art scientific instruments which all helped it achieve the groundbreaking recently released images.

Associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Thomas Zurbuchen, called the images 'a singular and historic moment'.

In a press release, he continued: "It took decades of drive and perseverance to get us here, and I am immensely proud of the Webb team. These first images show us how much we can accomplish when we come together behind a shared goal, to solve the cosmic mysteries that connect us all. It’s a stunning glimpse of the insights yet to come."

Webb program director at NASA Headquarters, Greg Robinson, echoed a similar sentiment, noting the team's 'elat[ion]' to be able to share the photographs with the world.

"The beautiful diversity and incredible detail of the Webb telescope’s images and data will have a profound impact on our understanding of the universe and inspire us to dream big," he said.

An image of Stephan's Quintet taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.

Bill Nelson, the administrator for the space agency, called the images taken from the James Webb Space Telescope a 'groundbreaking new view of the cosmos' and 'a view the world has never seen before'.

Nelson explained how the images - selected by a group of representatives from NASA, ESA, CSA, and the Space Telescope Science Institute - include the 'deepest infrared view of [the] universe that has ever been taken'.

He said: "These images [...] show us how Webb will help to uncover the answers to questions we don’t even yet know to ask; questions that will help us better understand our universe and humanity’s place within it."

Nelson pointed out how the 'incredible success' of those who have worked on the James Webb Space Telescope 'is a reflection of what NASA does best'.

He concluded: "We take dreams and turn them into reality for the benefit of humanity.

"I can’t wait to see the discoveries that we uncover – the team is just getting started!"

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Featured Image Credit: NASA/STScI/NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI

Topics: Science, Space, NASA