Yet it’s a few months until the James Webb is fully operational, and begin to provide us with the impressive images that we expect from it, thus competing with the views of the universe that the sensational and long-lived Hubble has provided (and continues to provide). And yes, I know that both telescopes are much more than cameras to give us spectacular views, but we cannot deny that these samples of their observation are simply hypnotic.
As I was saying, we will still have to wait until the James Webb is fully operational, because although a month after its launch, on Christmas Eve last year, it reached the Lagrange point L2, where it has established its orbit, they are many of them settings and configurations to be carried out. And since it is about a million and a half kilometers from Earth, and there is no way to physically access it, everything has to be done very, very slowly, and very carefully. since any failure could be fatal.
The good news is that, for now, everything is going according to plan.and the result of this is that the telescope is already generating some images related to this process, such as this selfie that he shared a few days ago, to check the alignment status of the 18 mirrors that make up the observation surface of the James Webb:
And precisely about that process, about the alignment of the James Webb mirrors, NASA has shared very good news and, in addition, a test image.
“HWe have fully aligned the telescope and focused it on a star, and performance is exceeding specifications. We are excited about what this means for sciencesaid Ritva Keski-Kuha, deputy manager of the James Webb Optical Telescope Element at NASA’s Goddard Center. “Now we know we’ve built the right telescope”.
Specifically, the phase that has been completed is the fine alignment, and according to the agency’s technicians, this was completed without incident. And to prove it, the telescope took an image that, personally, I recommend that you observe in depth and calmly. At least it has completely hypnotized me:
As we can read in the NASA publication, the objective of this test was to focus on a star (the one in the center of the image), but the capture elements of the James Webb are so sensitive that, even with the focus centered on a body like that star, they are able to capture the elements that are in the background, and which as you can see for yourself are both stars and galaxies.
If everything continues to go as well as it has so far, the next six weeks will be spent completing the remaining steps of the alignment, and after them, the final preparations will be made so that the James Webb can now be operational. According to NASA estimates, «The team is well on track to complete all aspects of the optical telescope element alignment by early May, if not sooner, then spend approximately two months preparing the science instruments.«.