Ancient galaxies revealed in never-seen-before £10 billion telescope pictures

By Jill Dando News

A brand new, detailed view of the universe that looks further back into space and time than ever before has been revealed in an extraordinary set of photos.

Stunning images of a “dying star” and a “cosmic dance” have been acquired by Nasa’s new $10bn space telescope.

NASA has released a full set of images from its James Webb Space Telescope, showing what is said to be the “deepest” and most detailed picture of the cosmos to date.

The James Webb observatory, billed as the successor to the famous Hubble telescope, is showcasing its first full-colour pictures of the cosmos.

Photos by NASA (Credit NASA)

Scientists and engineers from three space agencies worked for 20 years to complete the telescope, which is designed to see objects using light that is invisible to the human eye.

The new observatory has been tuned to see the sky in the infrared – that’s light at longer wavelengths that can be sensed by our eyes.

This will give it the ability to look deeper into the Universe than its predecessor and, as a consequence, detect events occurring further back in time – more than 13.5 billion years ago.

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Astronomers also expect to use its more advanced technologies to study the atmospheres of distant planets in the hope that signs of life might be detected.

The initial batch of images are just a taster of what is to come, says Prof Gillian Wright, the British researcher who’s co-led one of Webb’s four infrared instruments.

“Whenever you look at the sky in a new way, you see things that you didn’t expect,” the director of the UK Astronomy Technology Centre told BBC News.

“The fact that these new data are so good, that they’re of such good quality, that they’ve been obtained in just a few hours of observations – that’s telling you that the discoveries are just sitting out there waiting to be made.”

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