Dhe new space telescope James Webb has sent the first image from its location in the depths of space to earth. As NASA announced on Friday, the telescope took a photo of the star HD 84406 in the constellation Ursa Major. A black background can be seen in the image, in front of which are 18 blurred points of light – they all show one and the same star reflected by the 18 segments of the main mirror.
According to NASA, the image is intended to help adjust the alignment of the mirror. “The entire Webb team is thrilled with how well the initial imaging and telescope alignment steps are going,” said University of Arizona astronomy professor Marcia Rieke, who was involved in the project.
The telescope is expected to be ready for use in June. Until then, according to NASA, the instruments still have to be cooled down and calibrated and the mirrors have to be precisely adjusted.
big bang research
The James Webb Telescope is designed to explore the early days of the universe 13 billion years ago, just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. Astronomers hope to draw conclusions about the formation of the first stars and galaxies.
The most powerful telescope to date far exceeds its predecessor Hubble in size and complexity. It looks further into space than Hubble and therefore further back into the past. Webb focuses on infrared radiation.
An Ariane 5 rocket launched the Webb telescope on Christmas Day from the Kourou Cosmodrome in French Guiana. Because it was too big for the rocket, it had to be folded before launch.
German research also involved
Named after a former director of the US Space Agency, the telescope was jointly developed by NASA, the European Space Agency ESA and the Canadian Space Agency CSA. The Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, the University of Cologne and several German companies also took part.
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