The curtain finally rises on the sky as seen by the James-Webb Space Telescope. After more than twenty-five years of waiting, multiple postponements and budget deviations, earthlings have this new penetrating eye to peer into the cosmos. On Monday, July 11, the US president himself, Joe Biden, raised his eyelid when revealing the first image of the JWST (its acronym in English), built by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and its Canadian counterpart (CSA) . The new shots will be released on Tuesday, July 12 in the afternoon.
“A historic day”, greeted Joe Biden, applauding the arrival of the image on a screen. This first image is a firework of light points more or less wide, more or less bright and of various colors, sometimes with fine bright arcs crossing the black sky. These tens, even hundreds of fragments are as many galaxies that populate the Universe. Unusual in such a small square space, equivalent to the size of a grain of sand at the end of the arm. If a slight impression of blurring can surprise, this shot is testimony to the success of the giant 6.5-meter-diameter mirror telescope, launched on Christmas 2021, now located 1.5 million kilometers from Earth and in full swing. functioning.
“Colleagues told me they had tears in their eyes when they saw this first image. » Johan Richard, astronomer
In fact, the instrument confirms that it is a formidable time machine. To the origins of the Big Bang, tracing a trembling light that took more than 13 billion years to reach us. “It is the first objective of the telescope, to probe the dawn of time, the origin of stars and galaxies a few tens of millions of years after the Big Bang”summarizes David Elbaz, researcher at the French Commission for Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy (CEA).
“It’s fantastic ! It’s really very very rich. Colleagues told me that they had tears in their eyes when they saw this first picture », testifies Johan Richard, an astronomer at the Astrophysical Research Center of the Lyon Observatory, delighted with this first symbolic choice. “ It’s fun to see these first images, and now we can start dreaming.”greets Nicole Nesvadba, director of research at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), at the Côte d’Azur Observatory. “The level of detail is impressive. We will really see the Universe differently. I look forward to the other images »trusts Olivier Berné, CNRS researcher at the Toulouse Astrophysics and Planetology Research Institute.
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