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HomeScienceWebb Telescope Alignment Allows the image to show one star

Webb Telescope Alignment Allows the image to show one star

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Engineers fed 18 dots of starlight into a cohesive pattern.

Engineers fed 18 dots of starlight into a cohesive pattern.
picture: NASA/STScI/J. Dipascual

A major milestone has been achieved in the commissioning of the James Webb Space Telescope, as engineers continue to focus on the observatory’s view of the universe.

Annotated view of the new mosaic image, matching the mirror to each point.

Annotated view of the new mosaic image, matching the mirror to each point.
picture: NASA/STScI/J. Dipascual

We’ve Seen These 18 Points beforebut now Organizer. Oh, what a beautiful organization.

The $10 billion Webb Telescope is currently mounted on this single star, designated HD 84406, as engineers work to align its 18 golden mirrors. Eventually, these 18 points will fuse together to form a single image. Initially, these points were thought of as 18 scattered, semi-random spots, but they are now oriented to match the honeycomb shape of the primary mirror, in a process known as microimage identification, according to NASA. statment.

“We orient the clip points into this array so that they have the same relative positions as the physical mirrors,” Matthew Lalo, a systems scientist at the Baltimore-based Space Telescope Science Institute, said in the statement.

Selfie taken by Webb Telescope, showing the hexagonal pattern of the primary mirrors.

Selfie taken by Webb Telescope, showing the hexagonal pattern of the primary mirrors.
picture: NASA

With the points directed into a hexagonal formation, the team will now begin to align the segments as the large positioning errors of each segment will be corrected. The team will also update the secondary mirror’s alignment, which will make each point appear more focused; It would basically be like giving each mirror a pair of glasses. The third stage is called image aggregation, and this is exactly what it looks like: the team will bring all 18 light points on top of each other to form a single point.

The current trend of mirrors should make the second and third steps more manageable. As Lalo explained, once the image stacking process begins, the “familiar arrangement” of the 18 mirrors will give the team an “intuitive and natural way to visualize changes in clip regions in the context of the entire primary mirror.” He added that the commissioning team “can now in fact watch the initial mirror slowly form into its exact, intended shape.”

The alignment phase began on February 2, and is supposed to be completed by the end of the month. Launched on Christmas Day 2021, Webb is expected to enter the science phase of the mission in June, at which time it will explore some of the most distant regions in the universe, the evolution of galaxies over time, and the atmospheres of exoplanets. , among other celestial phenomena.

more: Webb Space Telescope successfully sees first flash of light.

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