Science

How to see the first image from the Webb Space Telescope as soon as possible

Exactly what Webb will show us is still a surprise.

After building anticipation for the first full-color images from the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA and its partners at the Space Telescope Science Institute have decided to release one of the images a day early, at 5:00 PM Eastern on July 11. It’s like the space telescope equivalent of getting to open one of your Christmas presents before bedtime on Christmas Eve, and here’s everything you need to know about how to get in on the early release action.

When it’s happening

President Joe Biden will unveil the first full-color image from the James Webb Space Telescope at 5:00 p.m. Eastern on July 11. This is a day ahead of NASA, ESA, and the Canadian Space Agency’s plan to unveil the images of a quintet of objects previously announced.

How to see the first image from James Webb

For the full Webb image release experience, you can watch President Biden’s announcement from the White House with remarks from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, on NASA Live.

If you just want to see the gorgeous space picture, the image will also go live at 5 p.m. Eastern on the website NASA has set aside for Webb’s first images.

This artist’s illustration of the James Webb Space Telescope shows Webb alongside some of the cosmic objects and structures the telescope will study.ESA

What will the first image from the Webb Telescope be?

The Space Telescope Science Institute (which manages Webb, Hubble, and the upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope) announced on Friday that the first five images from Webb would show us

  • stars forming in the glowing gas clouds of the Carina Nebula
  • giant exoplanet WASP-96b on a death-defying close orbit around its host star
  • the remnants of the explosive death of a star, called the Southern Ring or “Eight-Burst” nebula
  • merging galaxies in the tightly-bound galaxy cluster Stephan’s Quintet
  • a deep-field view of the distant universe courtesy of lensing galaxy cluster SMACS 0723

According to NBC News, the first image will be the deep field.

When we’ll see the rest of Webb’s first images

All five of the first full-color images from the James Webb Space Telescope will finally go public at 10:30 a.m. Eastern on July 12, bracketed by two hours of remarks from officials and experts. You can watch at NASA Live or on the agency’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Twitch — or if you’d rather just check out the images, they’ll be live on NASA’s website.

And of course, Inverse will keep you up to date on the whole thing, from the science behind the images to previews of what comes next.

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