SCIENTISTS in Scotland have been celebrating the first photographs from the James Webb Space Telescope, which show the most detailed images ever captured of the universe.

The telescope – the largest and most powerful ever to be launched into space – was created over 20 years.

READ MORE: Scottish team's key role in James Webb Telescope project

The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), one of four crucial scientific instruments on board, was primarily built in Scotland. Most of the pictures released from the telescope on Tuesday include images and spectra captured by MIRI.

According to the Science and Technology Facilities Council, these Scottish contributions have been "integral" to the development of the telescope and its ability to capture such spectacular images.

The National:

Stephans Quintet (Credit NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI)

Hamilton-born scientist Professor Gillian Wright MBE, who led much of the design and build of MIRI in Scotland in her role as European Principal Investigator and director of the UK Astronomy Technology Centre, which is based at Edinburgh’s Royal Observatory.

Professor Wright said: “It is rare in science to make the revolution in capability that is provided for mid-infrared astronomy by MIRI on Webb.

“It is an honour and a pleasure to have led the MIRI team in this achievement, and first and foremost I would like to thank everyone who has contributed along the way to make this possible.”

She went on: “These images and spectra would not have been possible without the international collaboration between the many MIRI partners and stakeholders along with the fantastic work of the Webb team to build this powerful new observatory. With congratulations to all concerned, I am looking forward excitedly to the many discoveries that will come from MIRI.”

The National:

Southern Ring Nebula MIRI (Credit NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI) 

The telescope’s mission is being led by Nasa, the European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency.

Doctor Caroline Harper, head of space science at the UK Space Agency, said the images being released mark a “milestone moment” for scientists around the world, plus those involved in developing the vital parts of the telescope.

“UK experts led the European consortium to develop the Mid Infrared Instrument (MIRI) on board, allowing Webb to ‘see’ faint infrared light invisible to the human eye and peer into the past to observe the very first stars and galaxies that formed after the Big Bang,” she said.

“This has never been done before, so it’s incredibly exciting to see what this looks like for the first time, and what we can learn from it.”

READ MORE: Profile: The James Webb space telescope

The first image from Nasa’s James Webb Space Telescope was revealed on Monday, showing what is said to be the “deepest” and most detailed picture of the cosmos to date.

Known as Webb’s First Deep Field, the picture showcases a galaxy cluster called SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago.

The image was revealed by US President Joe Biden on Monday evening during an event at the White House.

On Tuesday, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Canadian Space Agency, released the entire series of Webb’s first full-colour images during a live Nasa TV broadcast.