The James Webb Space Telescope, located 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, has completed its phase of alignment of its scientific instruments, now operational to explore the confines of the Universe, announced NASA.
The four powerful instruments, three imagers and a spectrograph, successfully aligned with the main mirror (6.5 meters in diameter), the deployment of which ended in early January, two weeks after liftoff from the James Webb Telescope (JWST) from French Guiana.
Each has reached its “operational temperature”, and is now ready for its scientific commissioning, detailed Thursday NASA in a press release.
While waiting for the first images of scientific observations, scheduled for the summer, the instruments confirmed that they were able to “capture sharp and well-targeted images”.
Like these images of stars and gas from the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small dwarf satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, taken by the Mirim instrument.
“This first image was immediately magnificent because we saw the quality of images we were looking for,” tweeted the scientific manager of the Mirim at the CEA, Pierre-Olivier Lagage.
“Everything is working fine and now I’m sure there’s going to be ‘transformational’ science. I am completely certain that with the JWST we will advance science by leaps and bounds,” added the astrophysicist, moved.
“These remarkable test images demonstrate what people across countries and continents can achieve when there is a bold scientific vision to explore the universe,” said Lee Feinberg, Elements Manager for the Webb Optical Telescope. at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Worth 10 billion dollars, James Webb is awaited by astronomers around the world and should make it possible to observe in particular the first galaxies, formed only about 200 million years after the Big Bang.
Images provided by NASA of stars and gas from the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small dwarf satellite galaxy of the Milky Way