NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is Releasing its First Colorful Images Soon

On 12 July, 2022, NASA’s James Webb Space Tele­scope will release its first full-col­or images and spec­tro­scop­ic data.

The largest and most com­plex obser­va­to­ry ever launched into space, James Webb Space Tele­scope, is the tele­scope that has been going through a six-month peri­od of prepa­ra­tion before it can begin sci­ence work, cal­i­brat­ing its instru­ments to its space envi­ron­ment and align­ing its mir­rors.

Why James Webb Telescope is more significant?

A joint project of NASA, the Euro­pean Space agency (ESA) and the Cana­di­an Space Agency (CSA), James Webb Tele­scope is the largest space tele­scope ever, with a 6.5 meter diam­e­ter mir­ror that will col­lect vis­i­ble and infrared light from some of the ear­li­est moments in our Uni­verse.

Pow­er­ful enough to see back to the time short­ly after the Big Bang, see how galax­ies formed and evolve, and see how stars are born, the tele­scope is named after Amer­i­can astronomer, engi­neer and avi­a­tion pio­neer James E. Webb (1906–1992), for­mer NASA Admin­is­tra­tor from 1961 to 1968 and head of the Apol­lo pro­gram dur­ing which men first walked on the Moon.

In the words of astronomer Klaus Pon­top­p­i­dan, Webb project sci­en­tist at Space Tele­scope Sci­ence Institute(STScI), their goals for Webb’s first images and data are both to show­case the telescope’s pow­er­ful instru­ments and to pre­view the sci­ence mis­sion to come. Pon­top­p­i­dan added, “They are sure to deliv­er a long-await­ed ‘wow’ for astronomers and the public”.

NASA says the tele­scope will make the first images and spec­tro­scop­ic obser­va­tions after its sci­ence and engi­neer­ing teams cal­i­brate, test, and give the green light. The team is to pro­ceed through a list of tar­gets that they have pre­s­e­lect­ed and pri­or­i­tized by an inter­na­tion­al com­mit­tee to exer­cise Webb’s pow­er­ful capa­bil­i­ties. After that, the pro­duc­tion team will receive the data from Webb’s instru­ment sci­en­tists and process it into images for astronomers and the public.

How will the first images look like?

As astronomers say, the new tele­scope is so pow­er­ful that it is dif­fi­cult to pre­dict exact­ly how the first images will look. Quot­ing to STScI’s lead sci­ence visu­als devel­op­er Joseph DePasquale, NASA said, “Of course, there are things we are expect­ing and hop­ing to see, but with a new tele­scope and this new high-res­o­lu­tion infrared data, we just won’t know until we see it”.

How­ev­er, they claim that these new images will be the first in full col­or and the first to show­case Webb’s full sci­ence capabilities.

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Along with these imagery, Webb will be cap­tur­ing spec­tro­scop­ic data – detailed infor­ma­tion astronomers can read in light. The first images pack­age of mate­ri­als will high­light the sci­ence themes that inspired the mis­sion and will be the focus of its work, which is the “ear­ly uni­verse”, the “evo­lu­tion of galax­ies through time”, the “life­cy­cle of stars, and oth­er worlds” etc.

Accord­ing to NASA, all of Webb’s com­mis­sion­ing data – the data tak­en while align­ing the tele­scope and prepar­ing the instru­ments – will also be pub­licly available.

To-date, James Webb Tele­scope is a huge and the most advanced tele­scope, with such a big tele­scope comes lots of respon­si­bil­i­ty for any team that works on it to make sure that they haven’t over­looked any detail. Leav­ing no stone unturned! Sci­en­tists say they are get­ting ready to reserve their first images as they pre­pare to put Webb through its paces. They also want to make enough prepa­ra­tions against any prob­lems that may crop up dur­ing test­ing and com­mis­sion­ing of the tele­scope.

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