Voici l’image la plus profonde jamais prise de l’Univers, capturée par le télescope Webb
Here is the deepest image ever taken of the Universe, captured by the Webb telescope
After years of waiting, it’s finally here. The very first official image taken by the James Webb Telescope has just been revealed. On Monday, July 11, the famous image was presented by the President of the United States himself, Joe Bidenaccompanied by the Vice-President Kamala Harris and NASA Administrator, Bill Nelson. The image in question is the deepest view of the Universe ever taken in the infrared range. It took 12.5 hours of observation time for one of the telescope’s instruments to create it.
This presentation by the White House is only a prelude to what will soon follow. NASA will indeed reveal the rest of the first images taken by Webb on July 12 at 2:30 p.m. GMT. The American space agency had already announced previously that the images which are going to be presented show among other things the Carina and Austral Ring Nebulae. NASA will also reveal the spectrum obtained after the observation of the exoplanet WASP-96 b.
For President Biden, the image that has just been revealed is a representation of the nation and the power of science. For her part, Vice President Harris said that this event marked an exciting new chapter in the exploration of our universe.
The very first picture
According to reports, the newly released image depicts the cosmic object named SMACS 0723. It’s about of a galaxy so massive that it amplifies and bends the light coming from other space objects behind it. The combination of Webb’s power of observation and the effects of this gravitational lens do so with this picture the deepest view of the Universe in the infrared range ever seen by humans.
Bill Nelson explained that if you held a grain of sand at the end of your finger and stretched out your arm, that would be the part of the Universe that you can see in this image. It’s just a very small portion of the Universe.
The path traveled by the Webb telescope
The Webb Telescope has now been in space for about 7 months after its launch on December 25, 2021. It took that long before the telescope could start observing the Universe. First, we had to join the second point of Lagrange around which the telescope orbits. At the same time, the spacecraft had to deploy its heat shield to allow it to reach very low temperatures necessary for observation in the infrared range.
The next step was the deployment of mirrors including the primary mirror and the secondary mirror. Several weeks were necessary for the team in charge of the telescope to fine-tune the adjustment of the 18 hexagonal elements of the main mirror.
The last step was the calibration of the 4 scientific instruments who are on board the Webb Telescope to ensure that the 17 viewing modes are functioning correctly.
Now we can say that Webb will start his real work. He will first observe targets that will help scientists to understand how to use data most effectively. These targets include distant galaxies and the planet Jupiter. Next, Webb will focus on what scientists call observations from Cycle 1.
Initially, the Webb telescope was planned to operate for a period of 5 years. However, NASA announced that the spacecraft could last up to 20 years thanks to the precision of its launch which saved fuel.