A Telescope to the Future

Dimi Nedyalkov, Staff Writer

The ability to see 13.6 billion years into the past seemed implausible, but the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) did just that. On July 12, the first five images captured by this $10 billion orbiting innovation showcased a revolutionary look into the start of the universe. 

The images captured with the telescope’s infrared cameras gave the world a deeper understanding of what happened only 200 million years after the start of the universe. With the JWST, rare sights such as galaxies colliding, evidence of water on a nearby planet, the earliest stages of a star being formed, and an active dying star were seen clearly for the first time. The last of the five photos, titled SMACS 0723, is the clearest depiction of the distant universe to date. The Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Thomas Zurbuchan, sees attempting bold feats as a priority for the NASA team. This mindset allowed him and his team to make historic scientific breakthroughs using the JWST. “These first images show us how much we can accomplish when we come together behind a shared goal, to solve the cosmic mysteries that connect us all,” Zurbuchan said. With so many groundbreaking discoveries made just six months after its launch, the James Webb Space Telescope is bound to play a significant role in future space research and exploration. 

The JWST accumulated lots of attention on popular social media outlets such as Tiktok and Twitter. Some of these videos and posts reached millions of people, who were all brought together over the astonishing photos. The JWST even gained the admiration of one of the most famous men in the science community, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who forwarded the story to his millions of followers on both Tiktok and Twitter. 

Along with attention from the media, the progress made by the JWST is also recognized by students. Senior Leo Alicea has been following the James Webb project since it was launched. “I think that [it] is going to change how we see the universe,” Alicea said. He, along with others following the JWST, is excited to see what the discoveries made by this revolutionary telescope can allow scientists to better understand about the beginnings of the universe.