Launched on December 25, reached its destination in January, it’s now sending back satellite imagery to data engineers here on Earth. A fortnight ago, it was all celebration at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, as NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope unfolded in space. This is the first crystal-clear image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.
Related media: STUNNING Details In First Image From James Webb Space Telescope
A Peek Into Space
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has reached a critical phase in its transition. The alignment of its mirrors has to be with incredible precision. How precise? About one five-thousandth the width of a human hair. That’s how precise. According to the telescope’s operators, the images obtained from this process show that everything is working even better than anticipated. They claim that its performance will eventually meet or even exceed the set goals that were originally designed for it.
As JWST peers into the cosmos, it is expected to capture images with crystal clear resolution. This is all thanks to its 18 gold-plated honeycomb-like hexagon mirrors. And to capture stunning images, it has to be aligned perfectly with extraordinary precision — within nanometers of such precision — for it to act all together as one.
James Webb Space Telescope
The first image taken was sent back in February, but the images were blurry due to poor alignment. Now, although the alignment isn’t all that complete, however, the image is of high definition quality.
“This is as sharp an image as you can get from a telescope of this size,” said Marshall Perrin, a scientist working on JWST at the Space Telescope Science Institute, in a press conference held on March 16.
This is the highest resolution infrared image ever taken in space. The image, technically known as 2MASS J17554042+6551277 (you didn’t read all that), shows a single image of a bright star flanked by distant galaxies. If the alignment hadn’t been precise enough, the star’s image would have been distorted by multiple copies of itself in the background.
This is not even the first science image yet, there are a few more alignment steps to be completed before. The actual images are expected to be sent by the observatory next summer. This image is just the first of many more of such images to be captured by JWST. These observations are believed to unravel some of the mysteries of the Universe — exoplanets, extraterrestrials, and dark matter and energy among others.
Stay tuned for updates on JWST.
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Sat, Mar 19, 2022.