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Tag Archives: James Webb Space Telescope

Webb is Cool, but it Still Needs to get Cooler

Cooling things down in space is trickier than it might sound.  But that is exactly the process the James Webb telescope is going through right now.  Getting down to cryogenic temperature is imperative for its infrared imaging systems to work correctly.  While the telescope has already started, it will be another few weeks before the process is complete, and it’s ...

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Engineers pleased with Webb’s progress as mirror alignment gets underway

STORY WRITTEN FOR  & USED WITH PERMISSION This “selfie” was created using a specialized pupil imaging lens inside of the NIRCam instrument that was designed to take images of the primary mirror segments instead of images of space. This configuration is not used during scientific operations and is used strictly for engineering and alignment purposes. In this case, the bright segment ...

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Want to Know What James Webb Looks Like in Powerful Earth Telescopes? Prepare to be Underwhelmed

The past month has been an exciting time for the James Webb Space Telescope! After launching on Christmas Day, the telescope spent the next few weeks deploying its mirrors, checking the individual segments, and then maneuvering to L2, where it will spend the next ten to twenty years unlocking the mysteries of the cosmos. According to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, ...

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Webb Has Arrived Successfully at L2

It’s really happening. The James Webb Space Telescope has successfully reached its orbital destination in space, 1.5 million km (1 million miles) from Earth. A final 5-minute thruster firing on January 24, 2022 put JWST in its halo orbit at the Sun-Earth Lagrange 2 (L2) point. The formal commissioning process can now begin. “We’re excited to announce today that Webb ...

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Webb closes in on destination with critical mirror alignment on tap

STORY WRITTEN FOR  & USED WITH PERMISSION The James Webb Space Telescope with its five-layer sunshade and optical elements fully deployed. Credit: NASA Thirty days outbound from Earth, the James Webb Space Telescope will slip into its parking orbit a million miles away Monday, an ideal spot to scan the heavens in search of faint infrared light from the first generation ...

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Astronomers relieved with final Webb telescope deployment milestone

Artist’s illustration of the fully deployed James Webb Space Telescope. Credit: NASA Still cruising toward its operating orbit nearly a million miles from Earth, the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope completed a transformation into its final dimension Saturday with the last of some 50 post-launch deployments, the unfolding of the observatory’s 21.3-foot (6.5-meter) primary mirror. Mission controllers at the ...

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Engineers taking more time to assess Webb’s behavior in space before continuing deployments

STORY WRITTEN FOR  & USED WITH PERMISSION Northrop Grumman teams work with the sunshield on the James Webb Space Telescope during ground testing. Credit: Northrop Grumman Engineers activating the James Webb Space Telescope decided Sunday to hold off tightening up the observatory’s critical sunshade to allow more time to check out the performance of its power systems and overall behavior now ...

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First wing of Webb telescope’s primary mirror folds into place

Artist’s illustration of the James Webb Space Telescope’s port-side mirror segment folded into place. Credit: NASA One of the two wings holding three of the James Webb Space Telescope’s gold-coated mirror segments folded into place Friday, setting the stage for positioning of the other wing Saturday to complete the nearly $10 billion observatory’s major deployments. “Webb’s iconic primary mirror is ...

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Webb’s secondary mirror successfully deployed

Artist’s concept of Webb’s secondary mirror support structure fully extended. Credit: NASA In another major milestone for the James Webb Space Telescope, a motor-driven tripod unfolded as planned Wednesday, moving a 2.4-foot-wide secondary mirror into position to reflect collected starlight back down to the instruments that will study it. While the deployment of a tennis court-size sunshield Monday and Tuesday ...

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