Webb Telescope reaches main milestone: All its mild is in a single place

Webb Telescope reaches major milestone: All its light is in one place

Enlarge (credit score: NASA/STSci)

Right now, NASA shared a picture indicating that it had efficiently accomplished the picture alignment stage of commissioning the James Webb Area Telescope. The Webb’s main mirror consists of 18 particular person segments, and, as of immediately’s replace, all of these segments are aligned so {that a} single star exhibits up as a single object. Whereas there are nonetheless a number of extra focusing steps required, the trail to commissioning the telescope retains getting shorter.

Instantly after launch, the main target was on unfolding all of the items of the telescope that needed to be held in a compact configuration to suit contained in the launch automobile. This course of included reorienting and lengthening the first mirror, reducing the secondary mirror into place, and stretching out the multi-layered sunscreen that helps preserve the imaging {hardware} chilly.

To the shock and delight of many individuals, that every one went extremely easily. Since then, the main target has shifted to… nicely, focus. The Webb’s main mirror consists of 18 separate mirrors in a hexagonal array, every of which could be managed individually. Initially, when the mirror was first unfolded, these produced 18 particular person smears scattered throughout the secondary mirror.

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