Already arrived at destination, James Webb lined up her mirrors and grabbed her first picture of a star totally sharp. This is a step that adds to the long list of achievements of this space telescope, which has not stopped bringing us good news since its launch on December 25, 2021.
This is not a telescope to use. The James Webb is the largest ever launched into space. So much so that no rocket could have propelled it ready to run. So we had to do a little space origami and bend it so that each of the pieces that compose it opened during their journey to the Lagrangian point 2.
It arrived at its destination on January 24, already fully deployed. However, he still had adjust both your mirrors and your instruments. He started with the first one, lining up all those optical parts that will allow him to take images of places the human eye couldn’t reach otherwise. This part is already finished and, according to what they assure POT, everything went perfectly. Indeed, as a picture is worth a thousand words, the space agency attached to the news the first photo of a star taken by James Webb. And, of course, he looks great.
The Long Journey of James Webb
During her month-long voyage, the James Webb gradually rolled out her gigantic mirrors, solar panels and, in general, each of its component parts.
Finally he arrived at his destination, 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, and has been orbiting the L2 point for nearly two months. But since this January 24, 6 months of adjustment of its mirrors and its instruments were planned.
He started to align your mirrorsspecifically by something known as fine phase. In this, not only are the mirrors placed, but it is also analyzed “whether each optical parameter that has been verified and tested performs at or above expectations”.
No serious problems or contamination were found that should concern scientists watching the James Webb from Earth. In fact, almost from the very beginning, the space telescope has been able to collect light from distant objects and deliver it to your instruments for analysis.
Once the fine phase was completed, we proceeded to align the near infrared camera, as it is the main image generator of the James Webb. At the end of this phase, you can not only collect the light, but also transmit it to your camera and reproduce images with it.
The first photo of a star taken by this space telescope
To check if the camera worked well too, scientists on Earth pointed out any star and took a picture. The result is perfectly clean, so we understand that everything has been done correctly so far.
At this point, James Webb’s engineers will spend six weeks aligning other instruments from Earth, such as the near-infrared spectrograph, the mid-infrared instrument, the near-infrared imager and the slitless spectrograph. They have an algorithm that analyzes the performance of each of these instruments and then calculates and executes the necessary corrections.
Then we’ll have to do some more residual adjustments, but a good part of the most difficult path will already be covered. In fact, the first scientific data from James Webb should arrive on Earth in summer 2022. Therefore, the photo of a star that he just showed us as an appetizer will be a trifle considering all that we will be able to see with these artificial eyes placed in such a remote place in space.
I am Bhumi Shah, a highly skilled digital marketer with over 11 years of experience in digital marketing and content writing in the tech industry.