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New Delhi: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Monday (July 11, 2022) released the first picture from its James Webb Space Telescope, an image of a galaxy cluster revealing the most detailed glimpse of the early universe ever seen. This image is the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date. Thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared – have appeared in Webb’s view for the first time.

Known as Webb’s First Deep Field, this image of a 4.6 billion-year-old galaxy cluster named SMACS 0723 was released by US President Joe Biden in a preview event at the White House in Washington. NASA, in partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency), will release the full set of Webb’s first full-color images and spectroscopic data during a televised broadcast on Tuesday.

At least one of the faint, older specs of light appearing in the “background” of the photo – a composite of images of different wavelengths of light – dates back more than 13 billion years, NASA chief Bill Nelson said. That makes it just 800 million years younger than the Big Bang, the theoretical flashpoint that set the expansion of the known universe in motion some 13.8 billion years ago.

‘A historic day’: Joe Biden on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s infrared image of universe

“When this image is shared with the world, it will be a historic moment for science and technology, for astronomy and space exploration, for America and all of humanity,” Joe Biden said before James Webb Space Telescope’s picture was unveiled.

“It’s a new window into the history of our universe,” he said. 

“And today we`re going to get a glimpse of the first light to shine through that window: light from other worlds, orbiting stars far beyond our own. It`s astounding to me,” the US President added.

He was joined at the Old Executive Office Building of the White House complex by US Vice President Kamala Harris, who chairs the US National Space Council.

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