Today and tomorrow, NASA is releasing the first full-color images taken by the agency’s powerful James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most powerful observatory ever sent into space. It’s an important moment for the telescope, signaling the start of scientific operations for the mission that could fundamentally change astrophysics and our understanding of the universe.
The James Webb Space Telescope, or JWST, features the largest mirror we’ve ever sent into space, with a span of more than 21 feet. Made of gold-plated beryllium, the mirror is designed to collect infrared light – a type of light that is invisible to the human eye and can travel incredibly long distances across the universe. Equipped with this impressive mirror, JWST should be able to see into the deepest corners of the cosmos and capture light from the first stars and galaxies that formed just after the Big Bang.
It has been a particularly long road to get to this point, however. JWST has been in development for two and a half decades, with its journey consistently marked by delays. Its budget has also grown to nearly $10 billion, and controversy has developed over its namesake. But finally, on Christmas Day 2021, the telescope launched intact and as planned. Over the past six months, scientists and engineers have meticulously set up, aligned and calibrated the telescope in preparation for revealing the first amazing images captured by the telescope.
Now, JWST is about to begin its first year of exploring the cosmos, packed with observations from scientists around the world looking to study distant star formation, galaxies, exoplanets and more. These images are just the beginning and just a taste of the exciting images to come.
When will NASA release the images from JWST?
This afternoon it starts at the White House. For weeks, NASA had planned to release the images all 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 5:00 p.m. ET . Now President Joe Biden will first unveil one of the images this afternoon, with comments from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.
Planned time: New York: 5:00 p.m. / San Francisco: 2:00 p.m. / London: 10:00 p.m. / Berlin: 11:00 p.m. / Moscow: 00:00 a.m. / New Delhi: 02:30 a.m. / Beijing: 05:00 00:00 / Tokyo: 06:00 / Melbourne: 07:00
What about the rest of the pictures?
NASA has scheduled a series of briefings for July 12 to release the remaining images. First, at 9:45 am ET, keynote addresses will be given by NASA leadership and the JWST team. Then, at 10:30 a.m. ET, NASA was scheduled to unveil the remaining images during a live broadcast, followed by a media press conference at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center at 12:30 p.m. ET. It’s going to be a day of content, but if you just want to see the remaining images, 10:30am ET is the time to tune in.
Planned time: New York: 10:30 a.m. / San Francisco: 7:30 a.m. / London: 3:30 p.m. / Berlin: 4:30 p.m. / Moscow: 5:30 p.m. / New Delhi: 8:00 p.m. / Beijing: 10:00 p.m. 30pm / Tokyo: 11:30pm / Melbourne: 12:30am
How can I view the image publication?
NASA will broadcast live stream coverage on its dedicated channels including NASA TV, which can be found on YouTube and NASA’s website. The release will also be broadcast on the NASA app and on NASA’s social channels on Facebook. TwitterYouTube, Twitch and Dailymotion.
Where can I find out more about the JWST journey?
We have been reporting on the preparations for the launch of JWST for years. Check out some of our previous coverage below: