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How to watch the first full-colour images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

The ground-breaking mission will provide new insight into the history of the universe and give scientists a peak at the furthest recesses of the cosmos.

James Webb telescope discovers CO2 on distant exoplanet
Kevin LamarqueREUTERS

This week NASA will be releasing the first full-colour images to emerge from the most powerful observatory ever sent into space, the James Webb Space Telescope.

The unveiling of these images will be a major accomplishment for the agency and will be the result of years’ worth of planning and preparation. The first collection of photographs will gave a taste of what is to come from the mission, which is hoped to provide fresh understanding of the universe.

Also known as JWST, the James Webb Space Telescope boasts the largest mirror ever fitted to a space-bound structure, a massive 21 feet in width. The mirror uses gold-plated beryllium to capture infrared light – invisible to the human eye by capable of travelling vast distances – from the outer recesses of the cosmos.

Where can I see the James Webb Space Telescope pictures?

The official unveiling of the first images from the JWST had been set for Tuesday, 12 July. However NASA has made a late change to those plans and the very first image will actually be revealed by President Joe Biden in a special White House presentation on Monday 11 July.

Biden will appear alongside NASA administrator Bill Nelson for that initial showcase, which is set to take place at 5:00pm ET (2:00pm PT).

The bulk of the pictures will be released during a live broadcast from NASA at 10:30am ET (7:30am PT) on Tuesday, 12 July. This will be followed shortly after by a press conference broadcast live from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

The event will be streamed live on YouTube and NASA’s website. You can also view the first unveiling of the images on any of NASA’s social media channels.

What is the James Webb Space Telescope’s mission?

The JWST represents a huge advancement in space technology and will hopefully provide greater insight into the universe around us. In a press release, NASA has stated that the telescope will “will examine every phase of cosmic history: from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang to the formation of galaxies, stars, and planets to the evolution of our own solar system.”

The agency has divided the mission’s goals into four key objectives:

- The End of the Dark Ages: First Light and Reionization

- Assembly of Galaxies

- The Birth of Stars and Protoplanetary Systems

- Planetary Systems and the Origins of Life

For more information on the technology behind the telescope and the future of deep space exploration, check out NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope project home page.