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HomeUncategorizedNASA reveals James Webb's first focused image of a Single Star

NASA reveals James Webb’s first focused image of a Single Star

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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured its first ‘in focus’ shot of a single star, and it is so good that the observatory may be able to exceed its research goals.

Although the subject of the image is a rather ordinary star called 2MASS J17554042+6551277, the image itself is anything but.

“Even though there are weeks and months ahead to really fully unleash the power of this new observatory, today we can announce that the optics will perform to specifications or even better,” gushes Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Zurbuchen’s remarks came during a press conference on Wednesday, March 15.

This image of a star was taken as part of the evaluation process as the James Webb Space Telescope’s mirror segments were carefully aligned. NASA / STScI

“This is one of the most magnificent days in my whole career at NASA,” he adds.

The Webb Telescope is engineered to detect light outside of the visible range — in infrared. Doing so allows it to produce images of the faintest and most distant objects in the universe. The $10 billion telescope is fitted with a 21-foot-wide, 4-inch-thick tiled mirror made up of 18 beryllium panels that are themselves coated in gold. Together, the 18 panels act as one large mirror.

Webb was launched on Christmas Day last year from the European launch facility in French Guiana and arrived in its final orbit between Earth and the sun on January 24.

The focusing team’s job is not over; this is only the next key milestone in the unfolding, preparation, focusing, and cooling of the telescope. This step entailed inspecting and testing all optical parameters to ensure they were functioning at or above expectations.

The scientists also discovered no major flaws, as well as no quantifiable contaminants or obstructions in Webb’s optical path. The observatory successfully gathers light from faraway objects and delivers it to its equipment.

Source: BBC/NASA

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