The James Webb Space Telescope heralds a new era for astronomy

We are about to get our hands on the first observations from the world’s most powerful space telescope – and it’s a moment to savour

Space | Leader 6 July 2022

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NASA GSFC/CIL/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez

FINALLY, we are about to see further back in time than ever before – and all in glorious high resolution. On 12 July, NASA will release the first full-colour images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which promises to transform our understanding of how the universe was made.

It is a moment to savour. These first snapshots are the culmination of a decades-long engineering effort, not to mention a suspenseful launch and commissioning phase in which the telescope’s origami-style sunshield had to unfold without a hitch and the 18 hexagonal segments of its mirror align with astonishing precision. …

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