Today, NASA released the first photographs from the innovative next-generation space telescope JWST, depicting the first photons of light collected by the telescope as it aligns itself to observe the universe’s earliest objects and events.
While the revelation represents a historic event in astronomy and the future of space travel, the photographs may be underwhelming. Don’t be discouraged; these photographs are intended for technical purposes as the telescope enters a three-month alignment period. Desktop wallpaper worthy photos from JWST will start coming after this alignment period.
Before we can see the first clear photographs from the telescope this summer, the procedure must go through numerous phases. The initial step was to align the telescope with the spaceship, which was accomplished by aiming the telescope (and individual mirrors) at star HD 84406, which is bright and isolated.
The telescope was repointed to 156 places around the star throughout the picture capture procedure, which began on February 2, and 1,560 photos were obtained using the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument’s 10 detectors. The entire event lasted 25 hours, however, NASA disclosed that the observatory was able to pinpoint the star in each of its mirror parts within the first 6 hours and 16 exposures.
These photographs now represent the first 18 images from over 1,000 shots, all of which are of a single star, explaining their repetitive character. The blur will fade when the mirrors align, but the photos have enormous technical significance to the team striving to create the telescope the world’s most advanced eye into the universe.
So stay tuned for more.