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James Webb Space Telescope: Humanity's deepest glimpse into the universe yet

IN SPACE - JULY 12: In this handout photo provided by NASA, a landscape of mountains and valleys speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula, on July 12, 2022 in space. Captured in infrared light by NASA's new James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth. (NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI via Getty Images)
IN SPACE - JULY 12: In this handout photo provided by NASA, a landscape of mountains and valleys speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula, on July 12, 2022 in space. Captured in infrared light by NASA's new James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth. (NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI via Getty Images)

Galaxies deeper into the universe than humanity has ever seen. Images of what’s actually in the atmosphere of exoplanets.

The James Webb Space Telescope is revealing the spectacular multitudes contained within even the tiniest patches of dark sky.

“Watching it go into orbit, watching it unfold, watching every instrument, one by one get ready — there were hundreds of single-point failures with this telescope that if any one thing had not worked, the whole telescope would not have worked,” astronomy professor Steve Finkelstein says.

But it is working — marvelously.

“It’s almost seeing the universe writ large,” Finkelstein says. “You can see all the way from the nearby universe to the most distant galaxies that humans have ever found. And already scientific papers are starting to come out.”

Today, On Point: Scientists join us to explain how to understand what the James Webb Space Telescope is sending home.

Guests

Catherine Espaillat, Astrophysicist and Director of Boston University’s Institute for Astrophysical Research. (@DrCEspaillat)

Steve Finkelstein, associate professor of astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin. (@astrosteven)

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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