The Web, hailed as the world’s leading space laboratory, has successfully completed several important steps in the last few months in refurbishing its 18 gold glass parts.
The first high-resolution images of the web cosmos are not expected until the end of June, as tracking equipment still needs to be calibrated. But test results released by NASA on Thursday show clear, well-focused images capable of capturing four of the observatory’s instruments. Together, these images share the full view of the telescope. Webb’s glasses transmit focused light from space to each instrument, and those instruments capture images.
For the experiment, Webb observed a small neighboring satellite galaxy called the Big Magellanic Cloud. The dense field of a galaxy with hundreds of thousands of stars can be seen in experimental images.
“These remarkable experimental images of a successfully refurbished telescope demonstrate what people in countries and continents can achieve when they have the bold scientific vision to explore the universe,” said Lee Feinberg, component manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Aviation Center’s web optical telescope.
Since the telescope team is already performing better than expected, it expects it to be higher than the goals to be achieved.
“These images have profoundly changed the way I view the universe,” Scott Acton, Paul Aerospace’s web wave perception and control scientist, said in a statement. “We are surrounded by the symphony of creation; there are galaxies everywhere! My hope is that everyone in the world can see them.”
An earlier image, shared in March, shows that the Web can use individual parts of its glass as a giant 21-foot, 4-inch (6.5-meter) mirror and capture light from a star.
For the next two months, the team will ensure that all scientific instruments are calibrated.
Each tool has a number of specialized detection tools with custom equipment to help achieve Webb’s scientific objectives, and all tools must be configured before they can be declared ready.
This summer, let’s take a look at the first shots of the heat that can unravel the mysteries of the universe.
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