A combined optical/mid-infrared image featuring data from both the Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope. It is in a spiral pattern.

Can the James Webb Space Telescope really see the past?

On July 12, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) made history by releasing its debut image: a jewel-filled photo that’s been touted as the deepest photo of the universe ever taken.

Besides looking farther across space than any observatory before it, the James Webb Space Telescope has another trick up its mirrors: It can look further back in time than any other telescope, observing distant stars and galaxies as they appeared 13.5 billion years ago, not long after the beginning of the universe as we know it.

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