Mark your calendars, folks: The James Webb Space Telescope’s first scientific image drop date is July 12, 2022. That’s 36 days away. A Tuesday, don’t you know. Cancel your plans. I’ll be here, waiting, holding my breath, ready to gasp in awe at what astronomers assure us all will be a sight of the cosmos unlike any we have seen before. But what will that sight actually be? We tried to find out.
The James Webb Space Telescope will make its first scientific observations of the universe in the coming weeks. The first full-color images will drop on July 12, 2022, along with spectroscopic data.
What the images will show is somewhat a mystery —so Inverse spoke to Klaus Pontoppidan, Project Scientist with the Webb Mission Office at the Space Telescope Science Institute and Technical PI for Webb’s Early Release Observations, to try and glean some clues to what they will reveal.
“The purpose of the first images, what’s called the early release observations, is really to demonstrate to the world that we are ready to do science,” Pontoppidan tells Inverse.