And that’s just the beginning.

We got a sneak peek a few months ago when the powerful James Webb telescope captured the star 2MASS JJ17554042+6551277 in a phenomenal way. But soon we can count on even more beautiful images. The six-month preparation period for the telescope is almost over. And the first, exciting color photos are expected as early as mid-July.

Preparation period
The telescope was launched on Christmas Day and arrived at its destination about a month later. Over the past few months, engineers have been calibrating the instruments and aligning the mirror segments so that they function together as one large mirror. The powerful space telescope has also cooled down well in the meantime – this is necessary to observe the infrared light from faint, distant objects. Now, almost six months later, the telescope can finally begin its scientific work and is ready to reveal more secrets of the universe.

In addition to the color photos, the first spectroscopic data will also be released in the summer. Scientists can’t wait. “Our goal is to both demonstrate the telescope’s powerful instruments and look ahead to its future scientific mission,” explains astronomer Klaus Pontoppidan. “The photos are sure to deliver a much-anticipated ‘wow’ for astronomers and the public.”


We can indeed be sure of that. Already during Webb’s preparation period, the telescope provided unprecedented images of a brilliant star. Researchers then expected, partly on the basis of those recordings, that the telescope would achieve or even exceed its ambitious mission goals. Because if he was able to make such beautiful recordings at such an early stage, how much more can we expect from James Webb when it is fully operational?

What can we expect?

An important difference from these earlier images is that the new photos will be the first in color. In addition, they are expected to showcase Webb’s full scientific capabilities. Although careful planning has been underway for the production of the color images for a long time, the new telescope is so powerful that it is difficult to predict exactly what the first images will look like, ESA said. “Of course there are things we expect and hope for,” said study researcher Joseph DePasquale. “But with a new telescope, we won’t know for sure until we actually see it.”


After this, Webb’s scientific observations will begin. Scientists have already requested time to use the telescope through a competitive process. And all sightings are carefully planned. For example, Webb kicks off by studying two special super-Earths, the lava-covered 55 Cancri e and the airless LHS 3844 b.

July 12

But first the pictures! So put the date in your diary now. Because we expect to be able to marvel at Webb’s first beautiful images (in color!) of the universe on July 12th. “These color photos will give us our first glimpse of how Webb will change our view of the universe,” predicts team member Chris Evans.

Indeed, because astronomers suspect that the most powerful telescope ever built will reveal new and unexpected discoveries and help humanity better understand the origin of the universe and our place in it. And it’s hard to imagine that right now. For example, when the Hubble Space Telescope took to the skies in 1990, dark energy was still completely unknown. Now it is one of the most exciting areas of astrophysics. What will Webb discover? We will see!