Kathmandu: Stunning images of a “stellar nursery” and a “cosmic dance” have been acquired by Nasa’s new $10bn space telescope.
The two pictures, and others, were presented to the world on Tuesday to mark the James Webb observatory’s readiness to begin science operations.
The facility has spent the past six months since launch undergoing testing.
Viewed as the successor to the famous Hubble telescope, Webb is expected to be a dominant force for discovery for at least the next 20 years.
The new observatory is a joint project of the US, European and Canadian space agencies – with Nasa in the lead.
Webb has been specially tuned to see the sky in the infrared – that’s light at longer wavelengths than can be sensed by our eyes.
This will give it the ability to look deeper into the Universe than its predecessor and, as a consequence, detect events occurring further back in time – more than 13.5 billion years ago.
Astronomers will also use its more advanced technologies to study the atmospheres of planets in our Milky Way Galaxy in the hope that signs of life can be detected.
The initial batch of images were just a taster of what would follow, said Prof Gillian Wright, the British researcher who’s co-principal investigator on one of Webb’s four infrared instruments.
(News Source: BBC)