The James Webb telescope, which is supposed to replace Hubble, has already spent half a year in orbit. During this time, the ultra-sophisticated device deployed a solar shield, launched scientific instruments, and reached an observation point at a distance of more than 1 million kilometers from Earth. This is reported by Ars Technica.
Now all these efforts, including the construction of the telescope, are beginning to pay off. The 6.5-meter Webb Mirror has deployed and is beginning to collect scientific images and data.
Several images resulting from the telescope’s first observations are scheduled to be released on July 12. Among them are pictures of the deepest Universe, into which humanity could once look, and the spectrum of the atmosphere around the exoplanet. By working in the infrared, Webb will also be able to identify fingerprints of small molecules like oxygen or carbon dioxide, which can indicate whether planets are habitable.
“The images are being taken right now. There is already some amazing science in the can, and some others are yet to be taken as we go forward. We are in the middle of getting the history-making data down,” said Thomas Zurburchen, head of NASA’s science programs.
The telescope is fully functional and has enough fuel to operate for at least the next 20 years. Thomas Zurburchen says that he is already delighted with the pictures taken by the device. According to him, he almost cried while looking at the first photos.
“It’s an emotional moment when you see nature suddenly releasing some of its secrets. and I would like you to imagine and look forward to that.” says the scientist.
The countdown to the release of the first images is taking place on this page. Today, there are 11 days left until this event.