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spaceSpace and PhysicsspaceAstronomy

New JWST “Selfie” Shows Its 18 Mirror Segments Perfectly Aligned

author

Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockMar 18 2022, 15:45 UTC
JWST

The perfectly aligned 18-segment primary mirror. Image Credit: NASA/STScI

JWST is almost ready to start looking at the cosmos, with a sharpness like never before. Just this week, the brand-new space telescope released its extraordinary telescope evaluation image. And it is truly extraordinary. While it focuses on a single lone star 2,000 light-years away, called 2MASS J17554042+6551277, we can already see the galaxies located many millions of light-years behind.  

Just like in the early JWST tests, we also get a picture from the other side. The telescope camera is capable of taking a "selfie": it can look at the primary mirror – which is made of 18 gold-plated hexagonal segments – and check their alignment. It did so after the first image it took and has done ever since. And these selfies tell us that everything is proceeding according to plan.  

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There are still months to go before the telescope will begin its scientific work but the achievements so far hold promise that we are about to see something truly incredible thanks to the power of this instrument and the hard work of so many across the world. 

JWST's first selfie, with the 18 segments not aligned. Image credit: NASA

 


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