March 1, 2024

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The fully aligned Webb Space Telescope sees a field of stars

The fully aligned Webb Space Telescope sees a field of stars

Images from the Focus Star Webb Telescope's instrument cluster indicate that the mirrors are fully aligned.

Images from the Focus Star Webb Telescope’s instrument cluster indicate that the mirrors are fully aligned.
picture: NASA / STScI

The Webb Space Telescope is one step closer to being fully operational: it is now perfectly aligned and calibrated for its set of four instruments to collect data on our universe. NASA announced the new milestone in a Yesterday’s blog post.

Webb, a collaboration between NASA, the Canadian Space Agency and the European Space Agency, is humanity’s latest attempt to unravel the mysteries of the universe. The purpose of the telescope is to collect data on Potentially habitable exoplanetsas well as for observing distant stars and newborn galaxies in the infrared using golden rays honeycomb set. Now, her The seventh and final stage of alignment Officially completed after its December 2021 launch, it has some amazing photos from each of its four gadgets to prove it.

Lee Feinberg, director of the Webb Optical Telescope Element at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a NASA blog post.

Now that the mirrors are fully aligned, the telescope is successfully powering its four instruments with light coming from the far reaches of the universe, take pictures of stars in sharp focus. The tools are Nircam, a near-infrared camera for imaging young stars and galaxy formation; The NIRa powerful spectrometer for studying light from distant sources; Mary, a camera and a spectrometer operating in the middle of infrared waves; And FGI / NIRISSwhich allows the telescope to accurately aim and study exoplanets.

Webb is now moving into the hardware boot process, where these highly sensitive tools will be tested across different configurations to ensure they are ready to run at scale. As part of this process, it will point the telescope at different regions of the sky to make sure they are thermally stable. The instrument should take about two months to run, and the official start of the science mission should finally begin this summer.

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