In just over 24 hours, the James Webb Space Telescope’s first images will be shown to the public.
On Tuesday July 12th, at 10:30AM U.S. Eastern Time and 4:30PM European Standard Time, NASA will be broadcasting the reveal across their social media channels, including on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, Daily Motion, and the James Webb website live from the Goddard Spaceflight Center in Maryland.
This will be preceded on Monday July 11th, 5:30PM U.S. Eastern Time (11:30PM UTC) by a live broadcast from the White House where President Biden and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson will present a sneak peak of a single image accompanied by explanations.
Early renderings of its instruments’ extraordinary sensitivities promise a totally new way of imaging space.
It will become the main flagship observatory of NASA, and reveal the earliest histories of the universe through its capabilities of imaging in the infrared spectrum of light.
Long time coming
The reveal comes 30 years after the James Webb Space Telescope first began construction, and 7 months since it successfully-launched from the ESA spaceport in French Guyana.
NASA haven’t said what this first batch of images will show, but WaL reported in May about two potential targets being rocky exoplanets with unique features.
They are the lava-covered “55 Cancri e” and the airless “LHS 3844 b”. The former could reveal things about how a dense atmosphere can survive temperatures so hot that moisture condensing in the atmosphere comes down again as lava instead of water, while the latter offers a better glimpse at exactly what kinds of rock are found on rocky worlds.
These are just two projects that will be conducted over the first year of observations with JWST. At the moment there have been 6,000 hours worth of dozens of projects already awarded.