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Space & Astronomy

New James Webb image exceeds 'most optimistic prediction'

March 19, 2022 | Comment icon 2 comments

The James Webb Space Telescope is working very well indeed. Image Credit: NASA
The James Webb Space Telescope's mirrors are now aligned and scientists are very impressed with the result.
The next-generation telescope arrived at its destination back in January and has since been undergoing a six-month commissioning process to get it ready for general use.

As evidenced by the photograph above, one part of this process - the alignment of its 18 hexagonal beryllium mirrors so that they function as one - has now been completed successfully.

The image, which shows a star roughly 2,000 light years away, exhibits an exceptional level of sharpness indicating that the telescope is performing even better than scientists had expected.

"You not only see the star and the spikes from the diffraction of the star, but you see other stars in the field that are tightly focused, just like we expect, and all sorts of other interesting structure in the background," said engineer Lee Feinberg.
"We've actually done very detailed analysis of the images we're getting, and so far, what we're finding is that the performance is as good [as], if not better than, our most optimistic prediction."

The next step in the commissioning process will involve further refining the alignment and bringing the telescope's other instruments - such as the Near-Infrared Spectrograph - online.

"The engineering images that we see today are as sharp and as crisp as the images that Hubble can take but are at a wavelength of light that is totally invisible to Hubble," said NASA's Jane Rigby.

"So this is making the invisible universe snap into very, very sharp focus."

If all goes to plan, we should see the first full, high-res images in the summer.

Source: Live Science | Comments (2)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by and then 3 months ago
Amazing... I have a feeling this is going to be more thrilling than Hubble was in the beginning.† Looking forward to it!
Comment icon #2 Posted by DingoLingo 3 months ago
Same.. Hubbles first photo's honestly blew my mind.. James Webb ones are really going to expand what we can see..

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