In partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), NASA will present the images alongside spectroscopic data from the world’s most powerful telescope. Live coverage of the image release broadcast will be streamed on NASA’s website at 10:30 a.m. ET that morning.
“Our goals for Webb’s first images and data are both to showcase the telescope’s powerful instruments and to preview the science mission to come,” said astronomer Klaus Pontoppidan, Webb project scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScl). “They are sure to deliver a long-awaited ‘wow’ for astronomers and the public.”
Each image will be released one-by-one, and are said to “demonstrate Webb at its full power.” NASA will only make the individual images publicly available once they’re revealed on the broadcast.
Images from Webb have been long-awaited by space enthusiasts around the world, after the telescope spent months calibrating, cooling, and reaching its final orbit 1 million miles away from Earth. Despite being recently hit by a micrometeoroid, Webb is “ready to begin its science mission and unfold the infrared universe,” the agency said.
“As we near the end of preparing the observatory for science, we are on the precipice of an incredibly exciting period of discovery about our universe. The release of Webb’s first full-color images will offer a unique moment for us all to stop and marvel at a view humanity has never seen before,” said Eric Smith, Webb program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “These images will be the culmination of decades of dedication, talent, and dreams—but they will also be just the beginning.”
NASA previously released test images from Webb, showcasing its calibration procedures by focusing all 18 segments of its golden primary mirrors on a single star. The telescope also took a photo of itself, taking the world’s most expensive selfie.
“In addition to enabling the incredible science that Webb will achieve, the teams that designed, built, tested, launched, and now operate this observatory have pioneered a new way to build space telescopes,” said Lee Feinberg, Webb optical telescope element manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.