Feeling miniscule

Awesome — in the truest sense of the word. This is one of the first full-color images from the James Webb Space Telescope and was just released today. It’s the farthest into space that humans have ever seen. More photos will be released tomorrow during a NASA broadcast beginning at 10:30 a.m. EDT.

I am awed. And I’m feeling very, very insignificant right now.

From NASA:

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has produced the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date. Known as Webb’s First Deep Field, this image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 is overflowing with detail.

Thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared – have appeared in Webb’s view for the first time. This slice of the vast universe covers a patch of sky approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on the ground.

This deep field, taken by Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), is a composite made from images at different wavelengths, totaling 12.5 hours – achieving depths at infrared wavelengths beyond the Hubble Space Telescope’s deepest fields, which took weeks.

The image shows the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago. The combined mass of this galaxy cluster acts as a gravitational lens, magnifying much more distant galaxies behind it. Webb’s NIRCam has brought those distant galaxies into sharp focus – they have tiny, faint structures that have never been seen before, including star clusters and diffuse features. Researchers will soon begin to learn more about the galaxies’ masses, ages, histories, and compositions, as Webb seeks the earliest galaxies in the universe.

This image is among the telescope’s first-full color images. The full suite will be released Tuesday, July 12, beginning at 10:30 a.m. EDT, during a live NASA TV broadcast. Learn more about how to watch.

19 thoughts on “Feeling miniscule

  1. Fantastic, isn’t it! If only we could eliminate all this human chaos on earth, then devote our thoughts, time and energies on exciting forward moving actions. Just think how wonderful that would be.

    1. I’ve little doubt that someday we humans will be doing the Star Trek thing. We are curious creatures; we want to see what’s out there. I don’t expect it will happen in my lifetime, but like mountains, we will go there simply because it’s there.

    1. Curvatures in space and time. Difficult concepts for me. I don’t doubt smarter people understand it all. They are the ones who will take us “out there” someday. Me, I’m still trying to comprehend “infinity.”

  2. To me, even beyond the amazingly distant (and obviously) spiral galaxies, are the tiny dots. I see those dots as evidence that we aren’t even anywhere close to the initial event horizon.

    1. I agree. Those faintest little spots demand more and better and longer range telescopes. This is a giant step forward, but obviously there’s so much more even farther out there. We’ve only just begun. And just look at it!!!

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