The NASA Webb telescope is fully focused and ready to go into service.
Very expected: NASA has stated that the scope’s optical performance continues to exceed their most optimistic projections. In fact, the agency said the image quality is “diffraction-limited,” meaning the clarity is as good as physically possible given Webb’s size.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has successfully completed seventh and final stage telescope alignment and is ready to move on to the commissioning phase of the scientific instrument.
Announcing this milestone, the space agency said she confirmed that Webb was able to capture crisp, well-focused images with each of the four onboard scientific instruments: the near-infrared camera (NIRKam), near-infrared spectrograph (NIRSpets) and near-infrared fine pointing sensor/thermal imager, mid-infrared instrument (MIRI) and a slitless spectrograph (FGS/NIRISS).
In other words, Webb mirrors direct fully focused light from space into each instrument, and each instrument captures images using the light delivered to them.
Scott Acton, Ball Aerospace’s wavefront researcher at Webb, is already excited about what Webb is doing. “These images have fundamentally changed the way I see the universe. We are surrounded by the symphony of creation; there are galaxies everywhere! I hope everyone in the world can see them.”
Webb is now ready to move on to the commissioning phase of the scientific instrument. Specialists arrived at the Mission Operations Center of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore to observe the work. Barring any unforeseen issues, commissioning should take approximately two months.
Scientific operations are expected to begin this summer.