NASA held a press conference announcing the exact alignment of the Webb telescope mirrors and future space operations. The agency also showed photos of the Large Magellanic Cloud, which have already been taken by a telescope.
The $10 billion telescope has a major scientific goal: to study how stars were born and planetary systems to form, and to study the evolution of galaxies, exoplanets, objects in our solar system, and the early universe.
The commissioning of the telescope will take about two months. Only then will it be able to fulfill his scientific mission. However, some photos scientists have taken now to make sure it works correctly.
MIRI, Webb’s coolest tool in the mid-infrared range, recently took a test shot of the Large Magellanic Cloud. This is one of the galaxies closest to the Milky Way. Earlier, it was photographed with the help of the Spitzer Telescope, which has already stopped working.
The difference in the pictures is striking – what in Spitzer’s photos looked blurry, in Webb’s pictures are clear stars. The new photo also shows interstellar gas distributed in space.
“This is a really nice science example of what Webb will do for us in the coming years.his is just going to give us an amazing view of the processes in a different galaxy for the first time, cutting through the dust”, says Christopher Evans, a Webb project scientist with the European Space Agency,
Another tool of the telescope – NIRSPEC, near-infrared spectrograph – also available a significant step forward compared to previous telescope technologies. While older models could only watch for one target,NIRSPEC can observe 100 simultaneously.
During the next steps in working with the telescope, scientists should take photos of its science targets. These will be not only the first photos of science objects, but also the first photos in full color. Although Webb “sees” space in infrared and near-infrared light, the photos will be translated into visible light.
The difference between current images and future ones is that now the telescope has been tested for its ability to see clearly – and then they will look at its ability to show scientific targets. It is unknown at this time what objects they are going to be. The scientists say it’s a surprise.