NASA Releases Ridiculously Sharp Web Telescope Pictures

Stars and a cloud-like galaxy photographed by the Webb Space Telescope.

NASA held a press conference Monday morning to discuss the exact alignment of the Webb Space Telescope and the spacecraft’s upcoming science operations. The space agency also released images from the telescope that showed Webb’s progress on a dazzling screen.

“I am pleased to report that the telescope’s alignment has been completed with better performance than we expected,” Michael McElwain, Web Observatory project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said at a NASA news conference. “This is an extraordinary teacher for mankind.”

Sitting at an observation point called L2, about a million miles from Earth, Webb will look back in time further in time than the Hubble Space Telescope. (Hubble will continue to work alongside Webb once the latter is turned on.)

The telescope is worth 10 billion dollars Primary Science Objectives It is the study of how stars are born and planetary systems appear, investigates the evolution of galaxies, exoplanets, and objects in our solar system, and looks at the closest light to the universe, with the hope that we can learn how stars and galaxies appear.

The preparation and testing of the telescope’s scientific instruments (a process called commissioning) will take about two months to complete. Once the commissioning is complete, Webb can start taking scientific photos that will determine its duration in space.

But some photos have already been collected to make sure the telescope is working properly. Webb’s coldest instrument – the Medium Infrared Instrument (MIRI) – recently took a test image of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way previously imaged by the infrared array camera of the now retired Spitzer Space Telescope.

A web image of the same region makes Spitzer look like a fingerboard, showing interstellar gas clearly distributed across the star’s field. Stars – spots, in Spitzer’s view – are seven-point light beacons in the MIRI test.

“This is a really great scientific example of what Webb is going to do for us in the coming years,” Christopher Evans, ESA’s Webb project scientist, said at the press conference. Evans said Spitzer was useful for scans of things like the Large Magellanic Cloud, but (as you might notice) its images were limited in their resolution. Webb is a less limited method. “This will give us an amazing view of processes in a different galaxy for the first time, and cut the dust,” Evans said.

The Large Magellanic Cloud seen by the Spitzer and Webb Space Telescopes.

Webb’s near-infrared spectrometer (NearSpec) is also a major upgrade over previous space telescope technology. Evans said that ancient space observatories were only able to see the spectra of one target at a time; NIRSPEC will be able to monitor 100 targets simultaneously. This is a boon to the thousands of scientists who all hope to use Webb’s data in their research.

Webb’s next steps will focus on taking pictures of his science targets, known as early launch observations. These will not only be the first images of Webb science targets, but the first images to be processed in full color. (Web sees the universe in infrared and near infrared wavelengths, but the images will be translated into visible light.)

Klaus Pontopedan, Web Project Scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute, said at the briefing That the main differences between the latest Pictures and those to come Which was taken to test the ability of the telescope to see Clearly, while the latter will test the telescope’s ability to photograph scientific targets. Pontopedan didn’t explain what Webb’s team would pick up on in the early release notes — the targets are “a surprise,” he said.

From these early results, it looks like Webb will be something intergalactic Palantir, dropping scientists into different parts of deep space. which was previously inaccessible. It’s the next best thing to actually being there for the infancy of the universe.

telescope designed To work for at least five years, but Ultra-precision shooting Back in December, means the telescope may have enough fuel to stay in position for more than 20 years. Fasten seat belts.

MORE: The Webb Space Telescope can get a good look at the next ‘Oumuamua’

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