JWST | Alignment Complete

Webb’s mirrors now direct fully focused light from space down into each instrument. This alignment allows each instrument is capture images. For the next two months, work will be done to commission each of the four scientific instruments. Performance appears better than the engineering team’s most optimistic predictions.

The NASA blog posted 28 April 2022 by Thaddeus Cesari describes the significance of this milestone in greater detail. Images in the post can be enlarged to show the great detail achieved by each instrument as well as the Fine Guidance Sensor. They are impressive. In addition, this one minute video from the blog summarizes the accomplishments.

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7 thoughts on “JWST | Alignment Complete

  1. It’s a fascinating sample of what is to come.

    They don’t say where Webb was pointing but judging from its current position I’d guess we are looking generally towards the heart of the Milky Way, although I see one very distant galaxy in NIRCAM.

    The nebulosity visible in MIRI looks tantalising.

    🙃

  2. I’m not sure what “commissioning” is. The machine is now aligned and at operating temperature, so it’s not clear to me why observations can’t begin. It’s a little frustrating.

    • I agree it is frustrating to have to wait. The team confirms they have aligned the mirrors so they can deliver sharp images to the instrument bay. The specialists who operate the 4 science instruments will now operate them under a variety of conditions to see that all the parts work properly together. Here is a quote from a NASA post.
      “Now, the Webb team will turn its attention to science instrument commissioning. Each instrument is a highly sophisticated set of detectors equipped with unique lenses, masks, filters, and customized equipment that helps it perform the science it was designed to achieve. The specialized characteristics of these instruments will be configured and operated in various combinations during the instrument commissioning phase to fully confirm their readiness for science.

      As part of scientific instrument commissioning, the telescope will be commanded to point to different areas in the sky where the total amount of solar radiation hitting the observatory will vary to confirm thermal stability when changing targets. Furthermore, ongoing maintenance observations every two days will monitor the mirror alignment and, when needed, apply corrections to keep the mirrors in their aligned locations.”

      We are going to get there. It is hard to be patient.

  3. Looking forward to the pictures and data the James Webb will be sending back to Earth. A remarkable achievement for humanity.

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