A picture is worth a million words. The Google Doodle for today honours the James Webb Space Telescope, also known as the JWST or Webb, a scientific marvel and one of the greatest engineering achievements of all time, for taking the deepest infrared image of the universe ever. It is the biggest, most potent, and most intricate infrared telescope ever launched into orbit, making it also the biggest international space project ever! Six months after launch, NASA has just made available the first operational images from Webb, which reveal new worlds and depths.
The JWST is called in honour of James E. Webb, the second administrator of NASA, who oversaw the Apollo missions that brought the first humans to the moon. The telescope took a month to travel 1.5 million kilometres (940,000 miles) from Earth after being launched on December 25, 2021, from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency worked together to make the launch possible (CSA).
Astronomers will now be able to study every stage of cosmic history, which spans a whopping 13.5 billion years, as well as the mysteries outside of our galaxy thanks to photos from the JWST. With Webb, NASA hopes to study the early universe, numerous galaxies over time, the star-life cycle, and additional worlds. The JWST will even be able to detect oxygen and organic substances on other planets and examine light from galaxies that formed 400 million years after the big bang.
Humans have wondered “How did we get here?” and “Are we alone in the universe?” for a very long time. The JWST will provide the finest infrared images yet captured by a space observatory, enabling us to investigate these issues as well as distant planets that circle other stars and thoroughly examine our solar system. It will pave the way for other scientific discoveries in the future and shed new light on celestial bodies, time, and space that we have yet to fully comprehend.
The deepest infrared image of the universe ever captured is included in today’s Doodle, along with other initial JWST images.