The National Aeronautics and Space Administration on Monday released the first photo of the cosmos taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.

The image, revealed, in a White House briefing by United States President Joe Biden shows a 4.6 billion-year-old galaxy cluster called SMACS 0723, that functions as a gravitational lens, magnifying the much more distant and extremely faints objects behind it.

NASA said this was the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe ever taken.

Launched on December 25, the James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s largest and most powerful space science telescope. Its cost is estimated at around $10 billion.

During the briefing on Monday, Biden said the unveiling of the first image from NASA’s telescope was an historic day as it offered a “new window into the history of our universe”.


“It’s hard to even fathom,” the US president added. “It’s astounding. It’s a historic moment for science and technology, for America and all of humanity.”

NASA administrator Bill Nelson said the image shows only a small little portion of the universe.

“Hundred years ago, we thought there was only one galaxy,” Nelson said. “Now, the number is unlimited. And in our galaxy, we have billions of stars, or suns. And there are billions of galaxies with billions of stars and suns. And we’re getting our first glimpse.”

The release of the image is a preview of a series of high-resolution pictures from the James Webb Space Telescope that will be released on Tuesday, according to The Guardian.

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, had told reporters last month that with the Webb observatory, the cosmos is “giving up secrets that had been there for many, many decades, centuries, millennia”.

He added, “It’s not an image. It’s a new worldview.”

Webb, which is equipped with a powerful array of detectors, is about 100 times more sensitive in comparison to its 30-year-old predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope.