July 14, 2024

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The Webb Telescope reaches a major milestone: all its light in one place

The Webb Telescope reaches a major milestone: all its light in one place

Today NASA Share a picture Noting that he has successfully completed the image alignment phase of the commissioning of the James Webb Space Telescope. Webb’s primary mirror consists of 18 individual segments, and as of today’s update, all of these segments are aligned so that one star appears as a single object. While there are still many focusing steps required, the path to operating the telescope remains shorter.

Immediately after launch, the focus was on exposing all parts of the telescope that had to be carried in a compact configuration to fit the launch vehicle. This process involved reorienting and widening the primary mirror, lowering the secondary mirror in place, and extending a multi-layered sunscreen that helps keep the imaging device cool.

To the surprise and happiness of many people, this Things went incredibly smoothly. Since then, the focus has shifted to…well, the focus. The basic Webb mirror consists of 18 separate mirrors in a hexagonal array, each of which can be individually controlled. Initially, when the mirror was first opened, these smears produced 18 individual smears scattered across the secondary mirror.

Earlier this month, however, adjustments were made to the mirrors Create a hex array Of the smears that repeated the arrangement of the primary mirror segments. Today’s announcement saw parts change so that each swab was partially focused and moved to the center of the secondary mirror. Results? The star being imaged for this process is now a single point in the center of the telescope’s field of view.

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NASA isn’t done yet, though. Even though all the images are in the same place, they are simply superimposed there. The end goal is to make clips behave like a single mirror, which requires more precise focus. To do this, the engineers will image the spectra of light, looking for subtle changes in the positions of the image at different wavelengths. From it, it is possible to find out how the mirrors should be shifted to adjust the mirror segments.