Ten billion dollars and a couple of decades in the making, the new James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is one of the most complex space telescopes constructed to date.
What's special about the Webb telescope is its ability to detect objects in much longer wavelengths than the Hubble, the first major optical space telescope.
Its upgraded infrared resolution and sensitivity allows it to view celestial objects too old, distant, or faint to have been captured before, promising to fill our critical gap in knowledge between the Big Bang and the earliest galaxies.
In its first decade of operation, the JWST will study the solar system, directly image exoplanets, and photograph the first galaxies.
To showcase the telescope's potential, NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will soon make public a set of 'first-light' images that it's captured so far: a taster of what we'll see during its expected 20+ years in space.
"One of those images on July 12 will be the deepest image of our universe that has ever been taken...farther than humanity has ever looked before," said NASA administrator Bill Nelson during a media briefing last week.
When Will The First Images Be Released?
US President Joe Biden is set to unveil one of the first images on July 11 at 5pm ET.
The first-light images will be released gradually on July 12 at 10:30 a.m. EDT (14:30 GMT), when NASA will release the images one by one during a televised broadcast.
After the live stream is over, see everything in one place on NASA's website.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy