The James Webb Space Telescope shows its first photograph of the stars

The James Webb Space Telescope shows its first photograph of the stars

02/12/2022 at 21:17

CET


The James Webb Space Telescope has finally captured its first image of a star, or rather, images. NASA has shared a mosaic of images of a star taken with the 18 segments of the primary mirror. It looks like a seemingly random collection of fuzzy spots, but that’s precisely what the mission team expected. The images will help scientists finish the lengthy process of aligning the mirror using the telescope’s near-infrared camera, or NIRCam.

The images came from a 25-hour effort that pointed the James Webb Space Telescope at 156 different positions and produced 1,560 images with NIRCam’s sensors. The team created the mosaic using the signature of each mirror segment in a single frame.

visual artifacts come from using the infrared camera at temperatures well above the frigid conditions the telescope will need for scientific observation. What you can see below is not the entire mosaic: the full resolution snapshot is over two gigapixels.

The James Webb Space Telescope shows its first photograph of the stars

The James Webb Space Telescope shows its first photograph of the stars

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The researchers hope the first scientifically useful images from JWST next summer. It’s reasonable to assume that those images will be considerably more exciting, especially as they begin to provide insights from the early universe.