CAPE CANAVERAL (AP)
NASA’s new space telescope has captured its first starlight and even captured a selfie of its giant golden mirror.
All 18 segments of the main mirror on the James Webb Space Telescope appear to be functioning normally a month and a half after the mission, officials said Friday.
The telescope’s first target was a bright star 258 light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major.
“It was just a truly incredible moment,” said Marshall Perrin of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.
Over the next few months, the hexagonal mirror segments – each about the size of a coffee table – will be aligned and focused as one, allowing scientific observations to begin in late June.
The $10 billion infrared observatory – billed as the successor to the aging Hubble Space Telescope – will search for light from the first stars and galaxies to form in the nearly 14 billion universe. last year. It will also examine the atmospheres of alien worlds for any possible signs of life.
NASA did not discover the hole in Hubble’s mirror until it was launched in 1990; More than three years passed before astronauts traveling to space were able to correct the telescope’s blurred vision.
While things are looking good so far with Webb, engineers should be able to rule out any major cloning bugs by next month, Feinberg said.
Webb’s 21-foot (6.5-meter) gilded mirror is the largest mirror ever launched into space. An infrared camera on the telescope captures an image of the mirror as a segment looks at the targeted star.
“Pretty much the response was ‘Holy Cow!’,” Feinberg said.
NASA released the selfies along with a starlight mosaic from each part of the mirror. 18 points of starlight like fireflies twinkling in the dark night sky.
After 20 years on the project, it’s “unbelievably satisfying” to see everything working so well, says Marcia Rieke, principal infrared camera scientist at the University of Arizona.
Webb sailed from South America in December and reached its designated position 1 million miles (1.6 million km) away last month.
Copyright 2022 Fort Myers Broadcasting Company. Copyright Registered. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent.
https://www.winknews.com/2022/02/13/nasas-new-space-telescope-sees-1st-starlight-takes-selfie/ New NASA space telescope sees first starlight, selfie