Throughout all of human history, we’ve been mystified and fascinated by the universe and its workings. As time progressed, so too did our tools, and with the advent of the telescope, we could gaze deeper into the night sky. Galileo was the first, but many more eyes would probe the cosmos with a telescope, including generations of notable Cornellians.
On July 12 NASA revealed stunning first images taken by its James Webb Space Telescope. For scientists, the release of these images will lead to a better understanding of the history and formation of the universe and the potential discovery of life outside of Earth. JWST is aninfrared telescope projected to be the primary observatory for numerous astronomers in the next decade. Unlike the Hubble telescope, JWST can view a larger range of infrared wavelengths, which are longer than visible light wavelengths. As objects farther apart in space emit light with longer wavelengths like infrared, JWST is necessary to observe these objects.
Prof. Lisa Kaltenegger,astronomy, is the director of the Carl Sagan Institute and explainedthat because JWST is bigger than Hubble, it can collect more light.