What'll they study first?
After sorting through more than 1,000 research proposals from astronomers around the world, NASA has finalized the list of targets that the James Webb Space Telescope will study — and is publishing all of them but one.
The space agency's largest, most powerful telescope ever has been practicing its photographic skills, but now it's ready to get down to business and start taking sharp, detailed photos of cosmic structures and phenomenon. In a statement made during a press conference Space.com reported on, the Webb's operations project scientist Jane Rigby said the first photo location was special enough to be kept under wraps.
"Yes, the targets have been chosen for the super-secret first images that will be released," Rigby said. "We've selected more than a full year of science. Those programs have been fully specified. The computer files that tell Webb how to take the data, we have all those in hand."
Among other targets NASA chose, the Webb will study two small galaxies outside the Milky Way and the remnants of an exploded giant star.
Are We There Yet?
When exactly can we expect to see the real deal from the Webb? It may be as early as July, according to Space.com. The aligning process should wrap up by the end of June and scientific observations are expected to start in early July.
In the meantime, we'll take bets on what the first photographed target will be.
Will it be a nod to historic missions of the Webb's predecessor, the Hubble? Will it be a star fragment containing distant evidence of life somewhere out there? Will it be a weird space cube?
Until we get an update you'll just have to use your imagination.