September 27, 2022

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The first images from the James Webb Space Telescope

The first images from the James Webb Space Telescope

NASA has unveiled the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope. One of them is a selfie. Is it an occasion to spread the suspicion that JWST is a puppet that no one has ever released?

On February 11, NASA unveiled a mosaic of 18 images provided by the James Webb Space Telescope from space. They represent the famous star HD 84406 in the constellation Ursa Major.

First image from the James Webb Space Telescope, February 2022, Source: NASA

What is the purpose of using the first images from the James Webb Telescope?

The images obtained from JWST are a kind of artistic image. Made to ensure that the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) is working properly.

Webb’s entire team is delighted with how successful the first steps in capturing the images and positioning the telescope were. We were so happy to see the light stream into the NIRCam.

Said Marcia Rickey, NIRCam Principal Investigator and Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona.

Successful imaging of high-resolution starlight 84406 does not mean that the NIRCam webcam is ready to collect light. First of all, it is possible to unambiguously determine the light of the same star in each of the 18 still disorganized segments of the main mirror.

Why was HD 84406 the first star in JWST?

The image mosaic provided by NASA is the first step in the JWST calibration process. The main mirror segments will be shifted so that the resulting images are arranged in one place, and then can move within a single wavelength of light. For this to be possible, the reference object must be the light of an uncomplicated and well-known star, such as HD 84406.

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This is not to say that the advent of imaging was particularly easy for the Webb telescope. It is a compilation of data from a 25-hour observation session. The use of NIRCam detectors actually appeared 1560 images, which means 54GB of raw data. They were only used to create the finished mosaic.

The first segmented images from the James Webb Space TelescopeFirst image from the James Webb Space Telescope with split into main mirror segments, February 2022, Source: NASA

Given the current state of the JWST, the images taken can be compared to a first reading test that anyone can take. The star HD 84406 is similar to the word “Ala” in the phrase “Ala has a cat.” The mosaic of images provided by NASA means that JWST knows the alphabet and can do something with it. This is a huge success, but whether it will translate into a smooth reading of the space remains in question.

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How did the James Webb Space Telescope take a selfie?

A portrait of the James Webb Space Telescope may seem like excellent material for science lovers limited to first-hand experimental impressions. Any flat Earth would have justifiable doubts about how the uncalibrated optics of the telescope would allow such miracles to happen. Well, these are not miracles, but an image whose understanding requires some knowledge of the JWST structure, more precisely its NIRCam. This tool includes an additional lens for imaging the camera’s inner pupil and provides a view of the main mirror sections. It is a kind of self-monitoring tool and will never be used for exploration.

JWST SelfieFirst selfie provided by the James Webb Space Telescope, February 2022, Source: NASA

A JWST selfie is also no ordinary Instagram board bust. Created when only one part faces a bright star. Others are in a different situation. This data will be very important in the calibration stage of the most expensive observation in the universe and may in the future prove to be indispensable during maintenance work.

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Source: NASA