All four science instruments on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope have achieved “perfect alignment” ahead of their official debut this summer, project officials said in a news conference call Monday (May 9).
“I am pleased to report that the telescope alignment was completed with a better performance than we expected,” Michael McElwain, James Webb Space Telescope said a project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, according to CBS News. “We’ve basically come up with a perfect telescope alignment. There is no modification to the telescope’s optics that would materially improve our science performance.”
To illustrate the telescope’s readiness, NASA has shared a teaser image taken by Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument, or MIRI. The new image shows a side-by-side comparison of observations of a nearby galaxy taken by Webb, versus observations of the same galaxy previously taken by NASA’s now retired Spitzer Space Telescope.
While the Spitzer image shows a misty of seven or so nearby stars located in the Large Magellanic Cloud (a satellite galaxy orbiting around Milky Way), Webb’s image of the same region captures the foreground stars in fine detail, offset by soft interstellar clouds Gas And hundreds of stars and background galaxies, captured in NASA calls Unprecedented detail.
In alignment with its instruments, NASA said the Webb Telescope is waiting for a final instrument calibration before it officially begins studying distant stars later this summer. In July, the telescope will publish its first set of scientific images, targeting galaxies and objects that “highlight all Web science topics…from the start.” being“Klaus Pontopedan, a Web project scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore,” said Klaus Pontopedan, a Web project scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.
NASA launched the $10 billion Webb Telescope on December 25, 2021, sending the telescope on a 930,000-mile (1.5 million kilometer) journey to its final location in the sky. The telescope consists of 18 hexagonal mirror segments, fitted together into one large mirror, 21 feet (6.4 m) wide. The design allowed the telescope’s mirror system to fold inside a rocket upon launch – unlike Webb’s predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, which had just made 1 base mirror It is about 7.8 feet (2.4 meters) wide, Live Science previously reported.
Scientists expect that Webb will be able to photograph even distant objects 100 times too dim To be seen by the Hubble Space Telescope. The telescope is designed to observe the faint light of the oldest stars in the universe, dating back about 13.8 billion years – just millions of years after the great explosion.
Originally published on Live Science.
“Infuriatingly humble analyst. Bacon maven. Proud food specialist. Certified reader. Avid writer. Zombie advocate. Incurable problem solver.”