Today and tomorrow, NASA will publish the first full-color images taken by the agency’s Great James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most powerful observatory ever sent into space. It’s an important moment for the telescope, marking the beginning of the mission’s scientific processes that could fundamentally change astrophysics and our understanding of the universe.
The James Webb Space Telescope, or JWST, has the largest mirror we’ve ever felt in space, spanning over 21 feet. The mirror is made of gold-plated beryllium, and is designed to collect infrared light – a type of light invisible to the human eye that can travel incredibly long distances through the universe. Equipped with this remarkable mirror, JWST should be able to peer into the deepest recesses of the universe, capturing light from the first stars and galaxies that formed right after the Big Bang.
It’s been a particularly long road to get to this point. JWST has been in development for the past two and a half decades, with its flight constantly marked by delays. Its budget has also swelled to nearly $10 billion, and controversy has ignited over its name. But finally, on Christmas Day 2021, the telescope was launched as planned. Over the past six months, scientists and engineers have precisely deployed, aligned and calibrated the telescope, getting it ready to reveal the telescope’s first stunning images.
Now, JWST is on the cusp of beginning its first year of studying the universe, filled with observations from scientists around the world looking to study the formations of distant stars, galaxies, exoplanets, and more. These pictures are only the beginning and just a teaser for the exciting pictures that are to come next.
When will NASA release JWST images?
Things start this afternoon in the White House. For weeks now, NASA has been planning to release the photos together on the morning of July 12, but over the weekend, the agency surprised everyone by adding a last-minute White House briefing on July 11 at 5 p.m. ET. Now, President Joe Biden will reveal one of the images first this afternoon, with NASA Administrator Bill Nelson providing feedback.
Timetable: New York: 5 p.m. / San Francisco: 2 p.m. / London: 10 p.m. / Berlin: 11 p.m. / Moscow: 12 a.m. / New Delhi: 2:30 a.m. / Beijing: 5 a.m. / Tokyo: 6 a.m. / Melbourne: 7 a.m.
What about the rest of the photos?
NASA planned a series of briefings on July 12 to publish the rest of the images. First, at 9:45 a.m. ET, there will be opening remarks by leadership at NASA and the JWST team. Then, at 10:30 a.m. ET, NASA should reveal the remaining images during the livestream, which will be followed by a media briefing at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center at 12:30 p.m. ET. It’s going to be a content day, but if you’re just looking to see the photos left, 10:30 a.m. ET is the time to set it.
Timetable: New York: 10:30 am / San Francisco: 7:30 am / London: 3:30 pm / Berlin: 4:30 pm / Moscow: 5:30 pm / New Delhi: 8:00 pm / Beijing: 10:30 pm / Tokyo: 11:30 p.m. / Melbourne: 12:30 a.m.
How can I see the photo edit?
NASA will broadcast live coverage on its dedicated channels including NASA TV, which can be found on YouTube and the NASA website. The release will also be broadcast on the NASA app as well as NASA’s social channels on Facebook, Twitterand YouTube, Twitch, and Dailymotion.
Where can I catch a JWST flight?
We’ve covered the lead up to the launch of JWST for years. Check out some of our previous coverage below:
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