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Images sent by James Webb Space Telescope also include a ‘Selfie’

The selfie was taken using a specialized lens that helps the engineering team back on earth make sure the mirrors are working properly

Thursday March 17, 2022 11:19 AM, ummid.com News Network

JWST Selfie

Washington: What is billed as another big milestone for the space observatory, NASA now revealed that the images sent by James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) last month also included a “selfie”.

NASA unveiled first images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) which represents early stages of the telescope's 18 main mirror segments properly aligning in February.

This image mosaic was created by pointing the telescope at a bright, isolated star in the constellation Ursa Major known as HD 84406.

 


This star was chosen specifically because it is easily identifiable and not crowded by other stars of similar brightness, which helps to reduce background confusion, the US space agency said in a statement late on Friday.

Each dot within the mosaic is labeled by the corresponding primary mirror segment that captured it.

What looks like a simple image of blurry starlight now becomes the foundation to align and focus the telescope in order for Webb to deliver unprecedented views of the universe this summer.

‘Baby Photos of the Universe’

The JWST’s “selfie” shows its 18 mirrors all collecting light from the same star. The selfie was taken using a specialized lens that helps the engineering team back on earth make sure the mirrors are working properly. Now that the 18 mirrors are aligned, they can work together as one mirror to begin capturing images of distant stars, galaxies, and even images from 13.6 billion light-years away — the baby photos of the Universe, according to The Verge.

“More than 20 years ago, the Webb team set out to build the most powerful telescope that anyone has ever put in space and came up with an audacious optical design to meet demanding science goals,” Thomas Zurbuchan, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate said in NASA’s blog.

“Today we can say that design is going to deliver”, he added.

 

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