After releasing the first image of the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA released during a conference, along with drops and descriptions, several images of the Hubble replacement made by ESA and NASA. Hervé Dole, an astrophysicist and professor at the University of Paris Socle, is very satisfied and excited by these new images and the scientific perspectives they open up. “Over Thirty Years of Human Adventure.”
>> in pictures. Space: Here are all the first images from the James Webb Telescope
franceinfo: NASA has released other images captured today by the James Webb Telescope. A big moment for you?
Herve Dole: unusual. We have been waiting for this for decades, and although we participated in this joint adventure in one way or another, we are still amazed by the quality of the images and the signal from the depths of the universe. Inevitably, we’ve designed this together over the years, so we know what to expect. But it’s always great to see what we plan to do, including unexpected things that allow us to see new galaxies. We have tiny red spots that we’ve never seen before, some of which have been confirmed by this famous infrared spectrum, especially one galaxy that’s very, very far away. In fact, compared to the thermometer you do when you have covid, the spectrum can be more like a PCR test. The images are like a thermometer: it gives you a very good first diagnosis, certainly very informative, but if you test with the spectrum, you have a lot more information. So it’s more attractive than the pictures, but in terms of information it’s terrible.
There have been many scientific breakthroughs, and now with data to study in your hands we imagine…
Yes, it begins as a scientific success: in a week, all these results have already been obtained, and twenty years of James Webb’s activities are expected. There is technical and technical success as the technologies on board often flew for the first time. It works perfectly: there were over 300 points of failure that could block everything, and everything worked perfectly. Then, it is a human adventure: there are people who have been working on it for more than 30 years, and some colleagues have sometimes already retired.
“It’s really a great human adventure.”Herve Dole, astrophysicist
Here are some images that reach us from 13.5 billion light years away. It’s hard to even understand what this means…
Yes basically, it’s the first galaxies we’re trying to see that we’ve seen in the past. Light has a finite speed, so when you look at the moon, for example, you see it as it was a second ago, because light takes a second to arrive. There, we go a little further: in this case 13.1 billion years. In fact, we saw more distant light in the cosmic background with the European Planck satellite, but at that time in the universe, after the Big Bang, there were no galaxies. James Webb was going to see the first galaxies, so it wasn’t that far off, on the other hand it was more “made up” in a sense.
More personally. Was there an image that caught your eye when you discovered these scenes?
This is the first image shown by NASA Vice President and colleagues Joe Biden. This image of a very deep field. In the hours since the reveal, we have it all. It’s a terrible promise.
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