Light After the Big Bang



One of the key things of the James Webb Space Telescope is designed to do is detect the very first stars and galaxies that were born in the very early universe. So this is a part of the universe that we haven’t seen at all yet. We don’t know what’s out there. The more distant in space we look, the further back we’re looking in time. With Hubble we’re about to push back and see pretty far into the distant universe, but we do reach a limit. And so we’re designing the James Webb Space Telescope to see past the point of Hubble and to see the very first stars and galaxies light up after the Big Bang. We know that there is a time in the universe’s past where the galaxies were the first to light up. Basically the stars and galaxies send out ionizing radiation, which clears out the fog of the hydrogen in the universe. So once that hydrogen fog is cleared out, the stars and galaxies can shine through. And so getting to that point just beyond what we call the dark ages is one of the major goals of the telescope.