On July 11, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s first picture gave us a breathtaking new perspective on the cosmos. It is a first-of-its-kind infrared image that is so far away in space that it shows galaxies and stars the way they were 13 billion years ago.
Vice President Kamala Harris and NASA officials unveiled the new image at the White House. This is the first full-color image of the galaxy taken by the $10 billion observatory launched last year. It is dubbed “Webb’s First Deep Field.”
It displays a kaleidoscope of galaxies against an atmosphere of darkness. Some look like bright spots; others appear “bent” and streaky, twisted by gravity on their lengthy journey to Earth.
Seeing the picture gives people a new perspective on the vastness of the universe. “If you held a grain of sand on the tip of your finger at arm’s length, that is the part of the universe that you’re seeing,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Just one little speck of the universe.”
Gravitational lensing is the process through which distant farther-off objects are magnified and deformed by the galaxy cluster’s bulk. According to NASA, the image depicts the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it was 4.6 billion years ago.