James Webb Telescope Progress #SpaceSaturday

At the Space Telescope Science Institute the engineers tending to the James Webb Space Telescope are methodically adjusting the primary mirror, arranging the 18 segments int a hexagonal “image array.” Here’s more from Astronomy Now:

The team is now working through phase two of the alignment process, correcting large orientation errors and updating the alignment of Webb’s secondary mirror to help tighten up the focus of starlight reflected from each segment. Once this “global alignment” is complete, the segments will be fine tuned to merge the reflections into a single sharply focused beam directed to Webb’s four science instruments.

“We steer the segment dots into this array so that they have the same relative locations as the physical mirrors,” said Matthew Lallo, systems scientist and Telescopes Branch manager…. “During global alignment and image stacking, this familiar arrangement gives the wavefront team an intuitive and natural way of visualising changes in the segment spots in the context of the entire primary mirror. We can now actually watch the primary mirror slowly form into its precise, intended shape.”

See and learn more!


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