the 18 segments of the James Webb Space Telescope now focus as one

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The ambitious launch of james webb space telescope keep giving good news. After reaching L2 orbit, NASA began work on aligning the 18 main mirror segments. That process allowed us to see a first photo that was bad because it had to be.

Now the alignment process is more advanced, and NASA has shared a first image with all 18 segments aligned correctly. The image, which heads the article, is the one that stars the star HD 84406 which is being used as a reference. The focus is already good, but NASA promises that the quality of that image will be even better soon.

From 18 separate points to one

NASA engineers explained how in recent days the second and third phases of the seven that comprise the mirror alignment. The focusing process therefore has a long way to go, but we have gone from that image with 18 luminous points to one with all those points gathered in oneas it should be.

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NIRCam captured this composite image of a hex array in the alignment phase of the 18 segments that make up the main mirror, and also its alignment with the secondary mirror. That segment alignment was critical to being able to then.”superimpose the light of all the mirrors so that they can work in unison.

This is how the James Webb Space Telescope is going to change the way we see the universe

Once that alignment was complete, the focused spots were stacked to deliver the photons of light from each segment to the same location on the NIRCam sensor. That process, called Image Stacking, had subsets of six mirrors activated at the same time to reorient them. and that the light they captured overlapped.

The result of that stacking process is that first focused image of the star HD 84406. NASA engineers say they are “increasingly delighted with the results we’re seeing,” especially after so many years of planning and prepare this mission.

Still there is work to be done. The main mirror segments still behave like 18 small independent telescopesand not like a single large telescope – it remains to align them with an accuracy that is even smaller than the wavelength of light.

The NASA team is already working on the fourth phase of the mirror alignment. In it —called ‘Coarse Phase’— light spectra of 20 different pairings of the mirror segments will be captured to correct vertical displacements or small additional differences. In the coming weeks that will make it possible for that photo of our leading star be more precise and even better focused.

More information | POT

The ambitious launch of james webb space telescope keep giving good news. After reaching L2 orbit, NASA began work on…

The ambitious launch of james webb space telescope keep giving good news. After reaching L2 orbit, NASA began work on…

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