Nasa is about to release the ‘deepest image of the universe’ ever

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Nasa is about to release the “deepest image” ever taken of the universe, it has said.

It is one of the many images that are currently being processed from the James Webb Space Telescope, Nasa announced.

“One of those images on July 12 is the deepest image of our universe that has ever been taken,” Nasa administrator Bill Nelson said. “This is farther than humanity has ever looked before, and we’re only beginning to understand what Webb can and will do.”

The set of images will also include the telescope’s first ever “spectrum” taken of an exoplanet. Such images can reveal the makeup of those distant world’s atmospheres, and could help show which of them are habitable.

“It’s going to explore objects in the Solar System, and atmospheres of exoplanets orbiting other stars, giving us clues as to whether, potentially, their atmospheres are similar to our own,” Mr Nelson said. “It may answer some questions that we have. Where do we come from? What more is out there? Who are we?”

The James Webb Space Telescope’s first images are due to be released on 12 July – and scientists say those and the other pictures that follow could fundamentally change our understanding of the cosmos.

The announcement of the upcoming image was made by Mr Nelson, who was speaking as part of a preview of those images two weeks before they are released. The Nasa administrator also announced that he had tested positive for covid hours before the press release was held.

The James Webb Space Telescope left Earth on Christmas Day 2021, after decades of planning and delays. It then flew to its appointed place in space, far from Earth.

Over recent weeks and months, engineers have been calibrating the telescope’s instruments and conducting tests to ensure that everything is working as expected.

It has also been gathering data for its first images, and sending that down to engineers at the Space Telescope Science Institute for processing. The first science observations were taken on June 21, the solstice on Earth, Nasa said.

Nasa has said that it will reveal the first images on 12 July, at 10.30am local eastern time.

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