JWST étoile

James Webb: 18 images of the same star become one

After a perfect launch and a smooth trip to the Lagrange L2 point, the space telescope James Webb has now entered a long adjustment phase. The engineers of the NASA are continuing at this very moment the phase of aligning the segments of the mirror of the JWST. Step 2 of the alignment consisted of “focusing” on each of the images displayed by the 18 segments of the space telescope, so as to obtain the same image (of the same reference star) on each of the segments (see below). below). The next step (4) is that of “stacking”: the 18 images are combined into one, even clearer and more detailed.

JWST star

NASA has started to tackle phase 4, during which the segments must be aligned with each other with a precision lower than the wavelength of light (yes, it is possible)! Phase 5 makes it possible to refine the alignment a little more, and phase 6 aligns the mirror with the other instruments on board the JWST. Finally, step 7 is a “debug” phase, during which the engineers will hunt for the last little glitches lying around… if there are any. These 7 steps are spread over a full period of 3 months, after which the JWST should finally be officially starting its observations of deep space, sometime during the month of June.

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