From the BBC article:
What you see is a cluster of galaxies in the Southern Hemisphere constellation of Volans known by the ungainly name of SMACS 0723.
The cluster itself isn’t actually that far away – “only” about 4.6 billion light-years in the distance. But the great mass of this cluster has bent and magnified the light of objects that are much, much further away.
It’s a gravitational effect; the astronomical equivalent of a zoom lens for a telescope.
Webb, with its 6.5m-wide golden mirror and super-sensitive infrared instruments, has managed to detect in this picture the distorted shape (the red arcs) of galaxies that existed a mere 600 million years after the Big Bang (the Universe is 13.8 billion years old).
And it’s even better than that. Scientists can tell from the quality of the data produced by Webb that the telescope is sensing space way beyond the most far-flung object in this image.
As a consequence, it’s possible this is even the deepest cosmic viewing field ever obtained.
Wow, that last sentence. JWST, already proving a worthy successor to the mighty, knowledge-bending Hubble.
Looking forward to tomorrow…