NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has successfully captured its first images, including a cheeky selfie of its primary mirror. These images may not be what you expect and that is because the telescope’s 18 gold-coated, hexagonal mirror segments aren’t yet in perfect alignment, and are functioning like separate telescopes. What may appear to be a simple image of blurry starlight will soon become unprecedented views of the universe this summer. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information,
The team will spend the the next month or so gradually adjusting the mirror segments until the 18 images become a single star. The image capturing process started on February 2 when Webb was repointed to 156 different positions around the predicted location of the star and generated 1,560 images using NIRCam’s 10 detectors. This ended up being 54 gigabytes of raw data, with the entire process lasting nearly 25 hours.
- High quality 127mm (5") Maksutov-Cassegrain
- Quick-release fork arm mount, optical tube and accessory tray for quick tool no set up
- StarPointer finderscope to help with alignment and accurately locating objects
The entire Webb team is ecstatic at how well the first steps of taking images and aligning the telescope are proceeding. We were so happy to see that light make its way into NIRCam,” said Marcia Rieke, principal investigator for the NIRCam instrument and regents professor of astronomy, University of Arizona.