New image from Webb, another milestone achieved

New image from Webb: Orangish star with diffraction spikes and background orangish galaxies.
View larger. | On March 16, 2022, NASA released another new image from Webb, the giant space telescope launched on Christmas Day and now residing at the L-2 point in the Earth-sun system. The telescope is now in a testing phase. Its first science images are expected this summer. This image is a taste of what’s to come. As NASA said: “While the purpose of this image was to focus on the bright star at the center for alignment evaluation, Webb’s optics and NIRCam are so sensitive that the galaxies and stars seen in the background show up.” Image via NASA.

New image from Webb

NASA announced on March 16, 2022 that it has achieved a critical milestone with the giant Webb telescope. The mirror alignment steps are now complete, and, NASA reported that:

… Webb’s optical performance will be able to meet or exceed the science goals the observatory was built to achieve.

With this in mind, NASA celebrated by releasing a photo today that shows a bright star with beautiful diffraction spikes against a background of numerous background galaxies. Webb still won’t be ready for science operations for a few more months. But the scientists said they’re thrilled with its performance so far and are excited for what they’ll discover, in due time.

Another milestone achieved

Currently, the Webb telescope has also completed the fine phasing stage of alignment. More specifically, this means the Webb’s primary imager, the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCAM), is fully aligned to its mirrors.

Ritva Keski-Kuha of NASA Goddard said:

We have fully aligned and focused the telescope on a star, and the performance is beating specifications. We are excited about what this means for science.

Now, the team still needs to align other instruments on the telescope, and they expect to complete all optical alignments by early May. Next, they will work on science instrument preparations. Full-resolution imagery should, then, come this summer.

More about the new image

Bottom line: NASA released a new image from the James Webb Space Telescope, the most powerful infrared space telescope, on March 16, 2022. The image shows a star with bright diffraction spikes and galaxies in the background.


Via @NASAWebb

March 16, 2022

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