all its light in one place

NASA today Share a photo Noting that he has successfully completed the image alignment phase of the James Webb Space Telescope commissioning. Webb’s primary mirror consists of 18 individual segments, and as of today’s update, all of those segments are aligned so that a star appears as a single object. Although there are still many fine-tuning steps required, the path to operating the telescope remains shorter.

Immediately after launch, the focus was on exposing all parts of the telescope that needed to be transported in a compact configuration to fit the launch vehicle. This process involved reorienting and expanding the primary mirror, lowering the secondary mirror in place, and extending a multi-layer sunscreen that helps keep the imaging device cool.

To the surprise and delight of many people, this Things went incredibly well. Since then, the focus has shifted to… well, focus. The basic Webb mirror consists of 18 separate mirrors in a hexagonal array, each of which can be individually controlled. Initially, when the mirror was first opened, these smears produced 18 individual smears scattered across the secondary mirror.

Earlier this month, however, tweaks were made to the mirrors Create a hexadecimal array Smears that repeated the arrangement of the segments of the primary mirror. Today’s announcement saw parts change so that each swab was partially focused and moved to the center of the secondary mirror. Results? The star imaged for this process is now a single point in the center of the telescope’s field of view.

NASA isn’t done yet, though. Even though all the images are in the same place, they are just superimposed there. The end goal is to make the clips behave like a single mirror, which requires more precise focusing. To do this, engineers will image spectra of light, looking for subtle changes in image positions at different wavelengths. From here it is possible to know how the mirrors should be moved to adjust the mirror segments.

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