The first scientific photos from the Webb telescope will be officially published in 5 days, but NASA hints that they will not disappoint. The agency published a test image from the telescope. NASA says it’s “one of the deepest pictures of the universe ever taken.”
The space agency took the photo in late May during a week-long stability test testing the capabilities of the telescope’s precision-aiming sensor. It’s a tool that helps Webb find and lock onto astronomical targets. It was created by the Canadian Space Agency.
“The resulting engineering test image has some rough-around-the-edges qualities to it. It was not optimized to be a science observation; rather, the data was taken to test how well the telescope could stay locked onto a target, but it does hint at the power of the telescope… Beyond the stars, galaxies fill nearly the entire background,” says the press release.
Most of the objects in the photo are not stars, but distant galaxies. These are the types of galaxies that astronomers are eager to study because they will reveal information about the early universe. Because the photos were intended for engineering tests, they did not use the color filters that allow astronomers to estimate the age of galaxies. However, the images show the detailed structure of distant galaxies.
The stability check was successful, so Webb recently collected data with all science instruments up and running. They will be released to the world in five days.