The stars of the Large Magellanic Cloud, depicted in the first experimental images taken by the James Webb Space Telescope after completing the seventh and final stage of alignment, now officially begin commissioning) of the scientific instruments, which should be fully operational within two months. This was reported by NASA, which is conducting the mission with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Agency (CSA).
“These extraordinary test images from the successfully aligned telescope show what people from different countries and continents can achieve when there is a bold scientific vision to explore the universe,” said Lee Feinberg, Head of Elements for the Optical Telescope. Webb at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
The optical performance of the telescope was confirmed to be better than expected. Mirrors focus the light collected in space into each instrument and each instrument takes pictures of the light being delivered to it. Image quality is limited only by diffraction, which means that the resolution of the detail that can be seen is the best possible material given the size of the telescope. From now on, the only changes to the mirrors will be very small periodic adjustments to the primary mirror clips.
Now Webb’s team will focus on operating the scientific instruments. Each tool is a highly advanced set of detectors featuring unique lenses, masks, filters and custom gear that help it do the job it was designed for. During the operation phase, the properties of these tools will be configured and managed in different groups to confirm their operation.
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