Four months after its launch, which took place on December 25, 2022, the alignment of finally NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope This is just going to happen. After a thorough review Thursday, the observatory was able to capture sharp, well-focused images with each of its four powerful onboard science instruments. Now, with the completion of the seventh and final stage of alignment TelescopeThe team has reached a consensus that it is ready to start operations.
However, it will have to go through the final stage of preparations, known as the commissioning of scientific instruments. This process should take about two months, i.e. James Webb It should only begin official activities around June or July, in the middle of the North American summer.
Telescope alignment on all of Webb’s instruments can be observed in a series of images that capture the observatory’s entire field of view.
“These remarkable test images from the successfully aligned telescope demonstrate what people from all countries and continents will be able to see with a bold scientific approach to explore the universe,” said Lee Feinberg, Elements Manager for the Optical Telescope. At the Webb Center at Goddard Space Flight NASA,
performance above forecast
The telescope’s optical performance continues to outperform the engineering team’s most optimistic predictions.
Webb’s mirrors now direct perfectly focused light collected from space into each instrument with sharp images. The quality is described by the precision of the details, which will get even better with the next adjustments.
“With telescope alignment and half a lifetime of effort, my role in the James Webb Space Telescope mission is over,” said Scott Acton, Webb Wavefront Detection and Control Scientist at Ball Aerospace.
“These images have profoundly changed the way I view the universe. We are surrounded by a symphony of creation; there are galaxies everywhere! It is my hope that everyone in the world can see them.”
Now, the Webb team will turn its attention to commissioning the scientific instruments. It’s a highly sophisticated array of detectors equipped with unique custom lenses, masks, filters and instruments to help you do the science it was designed for.
With alignment in the final stages, most professionals working in the Mission Operations Center at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore are already packing their bags to return home, given that they successfully completed their duties Is.
Although the telescope alignment is complete, some calibration activities remain in place before the telescope begins to operate on missions worth more than US$10 billion, with exponential benefits to science.
In addition, ongoing maintenance observations every two days will monitor the alignment of the mirrors and, when necessary, apply corrections to keep the mirrors in their aligned positions. Another step towards scientific development.
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