The first full-color picture has been coming a long time ago. Webb detected his first photons in early February, and then about a week later saw the first stars using all 18 of his early mirror sections. Towards the end of that month, Web worked on the second and third stages of seven total mirror alignment stages. A few weeks later, NASA announced that the web’s optics were working properly. In late April, the team announced that the telescope was fully aligned, setting the stage for a final series of preparations before a full scientific operation.
Although instrument testing and calibration took months, the web story goes much further. Before launching it last December, the work of the web has already taken more than two decades. The project, which has undergone many changes, entered its final design stage in 2011. The project has faced many challenges, and has cost about $ 10B, but here we are, with images from the Space Telescope in just 40 days from the first full-color viewing.
|Screenshot from the Webspace Telescope website (until June 3)|
Web, a partnership between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), is “the largest and most complex observatory ever launched into space.” When the first full-color images and spectroscopic data were released on July 12, we will finally see what the impressive telescope is capable of doing. So far, all the signs indicate something Too much Fascinating ‘Towards the end of our observatory preparation for science, we are in the midst of an incredibly exciting time of discovery about our universe. The release of the web’s first full-color image will give us all a unique moment to stop and marvel at what humanity has never seen before, “said Eric Smith, a web program scientist at NASA headquarters in Washington. “These pictures will be the culmination of decades of dedication, talent and dreams – but they will only begin.”
Determining what the web should look like first is a big project. NASA says it has an international partnership between NASA, ESA, CSA and the Baltimore Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), the home of the web’s science and mission operations, which took more than five years to decide. “Our goal for the first images and data on the web is to show the powerful instruments of the telescope and to preview the mission of science,” said Klaus Pontopidan, a scientist and scientist at STScI’s web project. ‘They are sure to provide the long-awaited’ wow ‘to astronomers and the public.’
|Rendering of the James Webb Space Telescope. Credit: NASA / ESA / CSA / STScI|
Before the first images are released, the web team will complete the calibration and testing of the telescope instruments. The instruments will probably pass the test and get the green light, and then the team will work through a list of pre-selected goals to ‘practice the powerful power of the web’. The production team will receive data from the web’s instrumentalists and then process the data into images for astronomers and for public viewing. Typically, raw telescopes finalize the data, taking clear images “anywhere from a week to a month,” said Alyssa Pagan, a science visual developer at STScI.
What would the first picture look like? NASA writes that it is difficult to predict. ‘Of course, there’s something we’re hoping for and looking forward to, but with a new telescope and this new high-resolution infrared data we won’t know until we see it,’ said Joseph Dipasquale, STScI’s chief science visual developer. Early alignment images show that the web’s optics are extremely sharp, so there’s good reason to get excited.
To stay up to date and follow the countdown with the James Web Space Telescope, follow the Web Telescope team Twitter.