Traveling in time with the James Webb Space Telescope
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The images from the James Webb Space Telescope are of some of the earliest stars and galaxies. What’s truly fascinating is it’s actually looking back in time.
It’s true! Want to travel back in time? Take a look through a telescope. That light you see from distant stars has traveled to you over both distance and time. You see a moment in the sky that has long passed.
Since the big bang, the universe is expanding, and as the stars and galaxies move away from each other, the waves of light from those stars, get stretched out. When the light stretches enough, it goes from the visible, that we can see — to the infrared, that we cannot see with the naked eye.
Since the James Webb Space Telescope works in infrared light, it can see the first stars, first galaxies and forming early planets- essentially the baby pictures of the universe.
Consider this: Light takes 8 minutes to travel from the sun to the Earth. So, when you look at the sun, you’re actually seeing the sun 8 minutes in the past. By looking at light that has been travelling for billions of years, we are seeing the universe, as it was billions of years ago. The Webb telescope can capture the light of galaxies that formed shortly after the universe began.
Now with the Webb telescope, we are capturing images of time almost from when time began.