To say that there’s been some excitement about the upcoming release of the James Webb Telescope images would be a pretty big understatement.
The gold-coated instrument, which cost a solid $10 billion and is currently orbiting the sun a million miles from our planet, has been busy snapping some shiny colour photos that are about to give us an unprecedented look into deep space — and on Monday, we even got an early glimpse of the first one.
The image, revealed by President Joe Biden at the White House, is objectively stunning, giving a view of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 — a galaxy in distant deep space — as it looked over 4.5 billion years ago. Further galaxies can be seen in the distance, and the picture is filled with clarity and colour — but it’s only when you look at previous images of deep space that you really get a sense of just how powerful the James Webb Telescope is.
Following the release of the first image, UX Designer Jason Short shared a GIF on Twitter comparing the new image to an older image of the same galaxy cluster.
The previous image is from the RELICS Treasury Program, taken by the Hubble Telescope. That first image, it’s worth noting, took weeks to capture, versus the 12.5 hours it took for Webb’s Near-Infrafred Camera to take the newly-released image.
More cosmic images are set to come out on Tuesday. Here’s how you can watch them all being unveiled.