James Webb Telescope sends home a selfie and 18 images of Starlight

two months later a spectacular launch on Christmas morning and several thrilling weeks of gyrations and deployments the James Webb Spac...


two months later a spectacular launch on Christmas morning and several thrilling weeks of gyrations and deploymentsthe James Webb Space Telescope achieved what astronomers celebrate as “first light”.

In fact, it was the first light.

NASA on Friday released 18 images of a star in the constellation Ursa Major known as HD 84406, seen through each of the 18 segments that make up the telescope’s main mirror and recorded by Webb’s working instrument. , the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam). The Webb astronomers will now spend the next few months wiggling each of these mirror segments back and forth until this star becomes one.

Marcia Rieke, a University of Arizona astronomy professor who led the team that built NIRCam, described Team Webb as “ecstatic” in a NASA press release.

The Webb Telescope is a joint effort of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency that was 25 years and 10 billion dollars in preparation. named after a former NASA administrator which guided the space agency through the early years of Apollo, the spacecraft is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. It was designed to study the universe when it was only around 200 million years old and the first stars and galaxies were just emerging from the hazy remnants of the Big Bang. It will also study the secrets of black holes and examine exoplanets around nearby stars for signs of habitability or life.

For these purposes, its instruments are designed to be sensitive to infrared or “thermal” radiation. Because light waves from such distant objects have been stretched into an expanding universe, they can only be recorded in longer electromagnetic wavelengths than human eyes or normal sensors can see.

The Webb is now parked about a million miles from Earthin an orbit that orbits the sun behind a silver foil heat shield that keeps it cool enough for the telescope to feel the distant heat of planets and galaxies.

As a bonus, a camera on the NIRCam snapped a photo of the mirror array itself – the closest look at the spacecraft anyone has gotten since shortly after leaving Earth.

The first scientific results from the telescope are expected this summer after all the tinkering and fine-tuning has been done. The universe should be preparing for its close-up.

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Newsrust - US Top News: James Webb Telescope sends home a selfie and 18 images of Starlight
James Webb Telescope sends home a selfie and 18 images of Starlight
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