Feb 26, 2022

Webb turns those 18 separate star images into a single unified star. Next comes even better focus

Posted by in categories: futurism, space

It’s coming together! Engineers for the James Webb Space Telescope have now completed two more phases of the seven-step, three-month-long mirror alignment process. This week, the team made more adjustments to the mirror segments along with updating the alignment of its secondary mirror. These refinements allowed for all 18 mirror segments to work together — for the first time — to produce one unified image.

As you can see in the image above, this view of the star HD 84,406 shows one image instead of the 18 views – one from each segment – that we saw earlier this week. NASA engineers say that after future alignment steps, the image will be even sharper.

“We still have work to do, but we are increasingly pleased with the results we’re seeing,” said Lee Feinberg, optical telescope element manager for Webb, in a blog post. “Years of planning and testing are paying dividends, and the team could not be more excited to see what the next few weeks and months bring.”

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