The James Webb Space Telescope shared its first images of our universe and its many galaxies earlier this morning, on the 12th of July. Not many know that it was able to do so thanks to a piece of equipment designed in Drenthe, the MIRI camera from the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON), based in Dwingeloo.
The images, which are comprised of full-color infrared scans of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, show stars that are 13 billion years old.
While the recently released photographs are just previews of still-to-come high-resolution images, the ASTRON camera aboard the James Webb Space Telescope is set to provide the highest definition pictures of our universe ever-recorded, reports The Guardian.
According to Bill Nelson, administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the images show light from galaxies bending around other galaxies as it travels for billions of years before reaching the lens of the space telescope in our solar system.
MIRI, the telescope camera, is capable of searching for planets through the capture and analysis of infrared light, reports the Dagblad van het Noorden. It can also reveal the nature of a given planet’s atmosphere and in theory, it would be able to detect, among other things, oxygen-filled atmospheres on distant worlds.
The James Webb Space Telescope is the direct successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, which previously provided the clearest images of our universe.
According to NASA, MIRI’s cameras far outclass that of the Hubble’s Spitzer Irac, opening the doors for the future of the science of astronomy.
While the full resolution images of MIRI’s pictures of our universe still remain to be seen, the James Webb Space Telescope continues its journey through the cosmos. You can follow the trajectory of the James Webb Space Telescope through NASA’s official website.