Already in February “James Webb” sent the first pictures from space, including a selfie. Further tests now give hope that the space telescope may work even better than planned
WASHINGTON – The James Webb Space Telescope, launched in December, has aligned and successfully tested its 18 mirror segments.
The team responsible is now assuming that the telescope will work as well as planned, or even better, according to the US space agency Nasa. Before the telescope can start its regular operation, however, further preparatory work is necessary, which should take a few more months.
The telescope had already sent the first images to Earth in February – including photos of a star and a selfie. The still somewhat blurry images were intended to prove that the camera and the 18 mirror segments of the telescope were basically working. Now the researchers put the different photos of a single star together into one image.
Flight was four weeks long
“James Webb” was launched on December 25 aboard an Ariane launch vehicle from the European space station in Kourou in French Guiana. During the flight, which lasted around four weeks, the sun protection of the telescope was opened and the mirror systems extended. James Webb then reached its target orbit in January. Scientists hope that the images taken by the telescope will provide insights into the time after the Big Bang around 13.8 billion years ago.
The “James Webb” took around 30 years to develop and cost around 10 billion dollars (around 8.8 billion euros). It follows the Hubble telescope, which has been in use for more than 30 years.
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