The James Webb Space Telescope continues to go through it's process of getting
readied to start its mission, and the good news continues to roll in.
According to the
"Where is Webb?" NASA site, they're still weeks away from going operational, but are well into turning
the 18 different reflecting telescopes into one telescope that adds the
apertures of all 18 of those mirrors together for all of the instruments aboard. Right now, that's only true for the one camera they're using.
Screen capture from Where is Webb earlier this evening.
In the last couple of days, the Webb team gave the results of the first fine phasing adjustment of the instrument. The quote in the title is from one of the project leaders. I previewed a few videos of the results, but I like the official one best.
On Wednesday, as part of the news release on this milestone, NASA provided a photograph from the JWST. At one point in the preparations for launch, someone said there were 344
single-point failures between launch, deployment to the L2 point, and being ready for operation. It's looking good but we don't know how many, if any, of those 344 are left.
This is the end result after all of their alignments and is said to have the best resolution and lowest diffraction ever in a telescope this far into the infrared. They refer to it as a Deep Field photo, similar to the Hubble Deep Field photo, one of the most famous photographs the space telescope ever captured. As you look around the field of the photo, like near the diffraction spike at around 10 o'clock, or just above the faint 3 o'clock spike most of the way to the right edge, all of those elongated streaks you see are galaxies. Probably the fuzzy blobs are galaxies as well, although some could be double stars. This field is all in infrared light, far beyond the reddest reds people can see, but the intensities were put through a red filter because someone liked the look.
The potential yield from this system is enormous.ReplyDelete
Just keep our collective fingers crossed. If something goes wrong with this there won't be a "repair mission" like Hubble had. With enormous potential gains comes enormous risk.ReplyDelete
That alignment photo makes me feel very small and insignificant. Like a neuron inside an atom of silica in a grain of sand on the beach.ReplyDelete
I'm excited over this telescope me and my sister are separated by politics but we can geek out together over space science JWT in particularReplyDelete
We are in the same boat. I am an ultra conservative geek and my sister the far extreme. Rarely can we converse about anything without contention. Unfortanately extreme politics has invaded science to the extent science has become perverted by it. This great achievement by America and mankind should transcend politics, but Im not holding my breath.Delete
Glypto: Betcha mean "neutron". Blame spelchek.ReplyDelete
You know, I must have read that on autopilot because I didn't even notice it said "neuron".Delete