Tuesday, July 12, from 10:30 AM EDT, NASA begins revealing the full suite of the first James Webb Space Telescope images. The live broadcast is streaming from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center based in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Also known as gravitational lensing, the Webb process facilitates the highest-definition photos of distant galaxy and star clusters ever captured.
Follow along as the GCTV team documents the step-by-step release of each image during the broadcast.
11:20 AM, 07/12/2022: First Stellar Birth Image
For the first time, humankind has the opportunity to see brand-new stars that were hidden from our view up until now.
“The cavernous area has been carved from the nebula by the intense ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds from extremely massive, hot, young stars located in the center of the bubble, above the area shown in this image.”— NASA
11:08 AM, 07/12/2022: First Galaxy Quintet Data
Moving forward, the team presents an image of five galaxies, known as Stephan’s Quintet. According to agency specialists, it is the largest of all James Webb Space Telescope images ever constructed, spanning 1/5 of the Moon’s diameter.
The mid-infrared version also reveals the presence of an active black hole, owing to the composition of gas around it.
“Sparkling clusters of millions of young stars and starburst regions of fresh star birth grace the image. Sweeping tails of gas, dust and stars are being pulled from several of the galaxies due to gravitational interactions. Most dramatically, Webb captures huge shock waves as one of the galaxies, NGC 7318B, smashes through the cluster.”— NASA
10:57 AM, 07/12/22: First Stellar Death Image
NASA shares a side-by-side comparison of near-infrared and mid-infrared images of the Southern Ring Nebula.
The moment captures the first Webb visual of a dying star 2,500 lightyears away.
“The dimmer star at the center of this scene has been sending out rings of gas and dust for thousands of years in all directions, and NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has revealed for the first time that this star is cloaked in dust.”— NASA
10:43 AM, 07/12/22: First Exoplanet Data
Next up, Webb representatives debut the first image of WASP-96b, a hot gas giant exoplanet located a thousand lightyears away from earth.
“The observation, which reveals the presence of specific gas molecules based on tiny decreases in the brightness of precise colors of light, is the most detailed of its kind to date, demonstrating Webb’s unprecedented ability to analyze atmospheres hundreds of light-years away.”— NASA
10:39 AM, 07/12/22: First Deep Field Image
The team presents the deep field image previewed last evening as an official release.
SMACS 0723, shown here in great detail, is the farthest away galaxy cluster that humanity now has details about.
“Thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared – have appeared in Webb’s view for the first time.”— NASA
10:30 AM, 07/12/22: Webb Team Statements
Webb Senior Project Scientist, Dr. John Mather, walks viewers through the +20-year history of the telescope.
9:50 AM, 07/12/22: NASA Goddard Director’s Introduction
Dennis Andrucyk, Director for NASA’s Goddard Space Center, continues the agency’s opening remarks.
“I’m extremely proud of all the employees as this entire project has been one of the greatest collective projects in our center’s history.”
9:45 AM, 07/12/22: NASA Opening Remarks
NASA begins broadcasting opening remarks on the JWST first full-color images and data.
Michelle Jones, Chief of Communications at NASA Goddard, is the first to speak on behalf of the agency.
“It’s a true pleasure to have you all here for this historic moment.”
9:33 AM, 07/12/22: NASA Twitter Broadcast Announcement
On Twitter, NASA sets up and announces the one-hour countdown for the streaming event.
6:23 PM, 07/11/22: First James Webb Space Telescope Image Previewed
President Joe Biden previews one of the first images captured by the telescope. The event, which took place at the White House, was quickly followed by global reactions on social media.
“Sneak a peek at the deepest & sharpest infrared image of the early universe ever taken — all in a day’s work for the Webb telescope. (Literally, capturing it took less than a day!)”— Nasa Webb Telescope / Twitter
Over the evening, #JWST and additional hashtags like #UnfoldTheUniverse were among the top-trending on Twitter.
On December 25, 2021, NASA launched the most powerful space telescope in the world.
Today, the space agency progressively releases its first suite of images, which people can view in real time below:
Image sources: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI