James Webb Space Telescope's 'jewel-filled' photo is stunning. But what are we even looking at here?

James Webb Space Telescope’s ‘jewel-filled’ photo is stunning. But what are we even looking at here?

On July 12, NASA shared the debut images from the fully operational James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) — the most powerful space observatory ever built.

Among the close-ups of cosmic cliffs and stellar fireworks was an impossibly detailed image known as Webb’s first deep field. Brimming with shimmering stars, warped light trails and thousands upon thousands of gem-like galaxies twinkling against the darkness of space, the picture has been touted as the deepest image of the universe ever taken.

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