The James Webb telescope’s story was told in increments of decades and is now being accelerated into a month-to-month headline as the sophisticated instrument nears full commissioning, ready to pump out what is sure to be a collection of some of the most breathtaking photos of space ever seen.
This status is confirmed after NASA ran a series of tests on the telescope.
Describing the nature of these tests, Webb optical telescope element manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Lee Feinberg is quoted in the agency’s blog post about the instrumental readiness: “These remarkable test images from a successfully aligned telescope demonstrate what people across countries and continents can achieve when there is a bold scientific vision to explore the universe.”
NASA describes these images as some of the best possible given the telescope’s size due to “diffraction limitation” or “the fineness of detail that can be seen.”
One team member, Ball Aerospace Webb wavefront sensing and controls scientist Scott Acton, who has “spent a lifetime” working on the telescope said of the captures, “These images have profoundly changed the way I see the universe. We are surrounded by a symphony of creation; there are galaxies everywhere! It is my hope that everyone in the world can see them.”
While alignment is in its final stages, there’s still some work to be done on the rest of the telescope, NASA writes, but we are entering the final countdown to full operation. Of course, we’ll keep you updated as developments progress.
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