A deep space shot from the Webb Telescope
The sharpest image of deep space produced to date, this image from the Webb Telescope shows a cluster of distant galaxies in astounding detail. 

NASA has just boldly photographed where no one has gone before. No humans, anyway. 

Today NASA revealed the first images taken from the James Webb Space Telescope, the most powerful telescope ever sent into the cosmos from Earth. In addition to the deep space shot above, here's what they photographed:

Carina Nebula

Cosmic Cliffs shot from the Webb Telescope
The "Cosmic Cliffs" of the Carina Nebula are formed by dust and gasses that resemble a mountain range. 

Stephan's Quintet

Stephan's Quintet captured by the Webb Telescope
A group of five galaxies known as Stephan's Quintet, which was famously featured in the classic film "It's a Wonderful Life."

Southern Ring Nebula

The Southern Ring Nebula is roughly 2,500 light years away from Earth, and can be seen here with clouds of gas and dust expanding out from it.

Looking Back in Time

The first images from the $10 billion telescope were long-awaited. Launched from French Guiana in South America in December, the telescope spent months reaching its destination, a vantage point some one million miles away from home. 

The images were not only highly anticipated because of their clarity of picture, but also because the telescope is looking towards the spot where scientists believe the Big Bang took place. 

Because light can only travel so fast, the telescope can literally peer back in time – some 13.7 billion years back in time, to be precise. That means that scientists are now able to look at some of the earliest planets and galaxies ever formed after the Big Bang.

What is the Big Bang?

The Big Bang Theory is the most widely accepted scientific explanation for the origin of our universe. As Space.com explains it:

The universe as we know it started with an infinitely hot and dense single point that inflated and stretched — first at unimaginable speeds, and then at a more measurable rate — over the next 13.8 billion years to the still-expanding cosmos that we know today.

It’s a big day for our understanding of the universe… to say the least. As NASA’s science mission chief Thomas Zurbuchen explained, Webb is revealing “secrets that had been there for many, many decades, centuries, millennia.”

The images will now be the focus of intense study as scientists seek to learn more about how the universe works – and what our place is in it. 

What is your reaction?

19 comments

  1. Joe Stutler's Avatar Joe Stutler

    FYI, for the science-illiterate, 13.7 billion years > 7 days. You're welcome. 😉

  1. John Condron's Avatar John Condron

    The god of the gaps grows vanishingly smaller every day!

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    As a ULC Bishop — who knows (not merely believes) that God and Nature are the same thing — we Secular Humanist Pantheists have the only provable God.

    The more articles — such as this one - are understood by the public, the closer mankind is coalescing thoards a Universal definition of a non-supernatural God.

    1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

      @William Dusenberry If you believe that God and Nature are the same things doesn't that make you a believer in Science?

  1. Rev Rock Wizard Nathan's Avatar Rev Rock Wizard Nathan

    I found everything to be exciting up to the Big Bang. I'm a Creationist. I believe God made the world in six days. So to me, if the telescope has located where it is believed that the Big Bang took place, then it really means that the telescope found the spot where God spoke. 1 million miles away from Earth.

    1. Joe Stutler's Avatar Joe Stutler

      Um, FYI, 13.7 billion light years > 1 million miles. You're welcome. 😉

    2. Keith Allen Steele Eash's Avatar Keith Allen Steele Eash

      That is a lack of intelligence if you believe God created everything in 6 human days. with God there is no time. One day can be a thousand years. In.the Koran it st a tes one day can be 25,000 years. God does not tell us how much time it took except in his time which is Infinite. Hence, no set schedule . The sun and moon truly didn't exist at first. There is scientific truth in evolution. Not in the sense th a that man evolved from apes but that creation took time. Time as we do not know it.. it took 6 days I agree but not in the comprehension of time as we know it in a 24 hour period.

      1. Dr. Zerpersande's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande

        Evolution does not, in any shape, form or manner state that man evolved from apes. There are many scientifically ignorant people that believe such and Keith is one of them. Evolution states that mab and apes had a common ancestor.

      2. Keith Allen Steele Eash's Avatar Keith Allen Steele Eash

        Dr. ZIPPYDODO. If you are a doctor in anything it definitely isn't in comprehensive reading. I never said man evolved from apes, altho you must have. I believe in intelligent design.

    3. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

      And just what do you know about the Big Bang?

      Do you know Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître was a Belgian Catholic priest, theoretical physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Louvain is the person showed their was a Big Bang. He proved Albert Einstein was wrong when it came to the creation of the universe. He also proved God and the Bible was wrong.

      1. JaZe's Avatar JaZe

        wow Some resume, Monsieur Lemaitre ! in some quarters the Big Bang is believed to be the outbreath of the Creator Being the Theosophical concept of creation seems to me a much better version than the one espoused by the Bible

        1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

          As soon as the priest's Big Bang became widely known Christians used this as scientific proof that the God was the creator just as it says in the Bible. The Christians got a little millage out of this until Lemaître proved God and the Bible got it horribly wrong for days 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and part of 7. This troubled Lemaître deeply, and at the same time shut the Christians up because now they knew the Bible and the words of God were wrong.

          It's an interesting piece of Christian and science history. We know Lemaître got it right because computers, space travel, GPS and the Internet can all be traced directly back to Lemaître's Big Bang. Christians hate this because it clearly demonstrates the Bible/word of God IS wrong.

  1. Keith Allen Steele Eash's Avatar Keith Allen Steele Eash

    Afraid to disagree with you. But if God is Omnipresent, Omniscient, &Omnipotent then God is very much a supernatural God. Because nothing can truly say w hat created the energy to create the Bog Bang. Something did that had superior intelligence. Bishop or no bishop I know and God is ever the Supernatural Being.

    1. Dr. Zerpersande's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande

      Ahh, the ‘god to the gaps’ argument. Find something that has yet to be fully explained and pull out your Ronco God Putty to fill those pesky gaps. This sort of a statement IS addressed in the Desert Goat Herdes’ Guide to the Universe (aka - bible).

      Speaking of scientific ignorance…Don’t worry about the mote of ignorance in your brother’s eye, but take take of the beam in your own.

  1. Dr. Bob Thomas's Avatar Dr. Bob Thomas

    I too believe that God lives "out side" of what we call time. The scriptures support that. They tells us that God's time is not our time. Furthermore, they tell us that the Mind and the thoughts of God are truly above the mind and thoughts of man.

    It is not possible for us to be able to understand what God truly is. Just as an ant cannot understand what we truly are to it. However; just as it is possible for us to interact with the ant, so too can God interact with us. And there may come a day when we develop a method of letting the ant "know" of us, only because we are so far above them. God, being superior to us found a way to allow us to "know" of Him. He had to do it using the things that we understand. Just as we will have to get the ant to know us through things that the ant understands. That understanding cannot happen any other way. Thus we have scriptures that reflect the known things of the time that God chose to use to introduce Himself to us.

    Yet through all that, God managed to convey universal truths: treat others as you want to be treated. Love above all. Seek peace and pursue it. Forgiveness. Compassion. Empathy. Help each other. Tell the truth. Think first of others, then of yourself. Know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil.

    It's too bad that some men chose to corrupt it all; and to be over come by that corruption.

    But that is on us, not on God.

    I am not suprised about the beauty of the heavens.
    I am not surprised that some one of us created this device that allows us to "peek behind the great curtain of time."

    In the mean time, we will continue to extend our hand out into the deeper part of space. Whatever we find there, it will be a sure thing that God is in control.

    The Big Bang did it all. Yet what was before the Big Bang? Did time begin when man was made mortal? If so, then what happened. before then.

    Is it really necessary to see (know) what happened?

    How does knowing about then help us to know about now? Or even 100 years from now?

    I leave you there ... to ponder what it all means to everyone else and to just you.

    But I contend that there are better way to spend your time.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      If you believe in a god, and you believe it lives outside of time, and you believe in words written by men, that you call scripture from a god, all having no demonstrable evidence to your claims, how on earth did you receive a doctorate? If you cannot demonstrably prove your god is real, all your claims that you make above, crumble to dust.

      My doctorate came from much study, and research, using science, logic, reason, and demonstrable evidence. Very clearly Sir. yours didn’t.

      🦁❤️ PhD

  1. Geoffrey C. Olive's Avatar Geoffrey C. Olive

    Duh! 💩👎

    1. Dr. Zerpersande's Avatar Dr. Zerpersande

      Geoffrey is at a literal lack of words and simply draws crude pictures and grunts.

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    The Christian God of diminishing returns: • 10,000 years ago, God creates the universe, man and woman, heavens and the Earth. • 5000 years ago, God parts the Red Sea. • 2000 years ago, virgin birth and resurrection. • 200 years ago, heals the sick, less frequently as medicine advances. • 20 years ago, God speaks to televangelists, telling them they need to ask for money. • 2 years ago, Jesus appears on a slice of toast. • 2 days ago, God caused a slight breeze.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:
Don't have an account yet? Create Account