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The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the most powerful space telescope ever made and launched into orbit on Christmas Day 2021, took a new photograph of the star HD 84406, chosen by NASA technicians as a reference point for calibrating the instruments. of the telescope. The image is the first to be created using all 18 hexagonal mirrors of the JWST, which working together allow for high-definition observations of very distant celestial bodies, potentially up to 13.6 billion light years, to the point of making it possible to ‘observation of what the Universe was like in its early stages of existence.
The image not only shows how the mirrors of the telescope are working in the expected modes, but also effectively shows the potential of the instrument. In addition to HD 84406 clearly visible in the center, numerous galaxies can be seen in the background, which the JWST was able to detect, despite the strong brightness of the star in the foreground.
NASA also has widespread a new “selfie” from the JWST, showing the current alignment of the 18 mirrors. The image was obtained through a particular lens, which the technicians use to calibrate the instrument and make sure that the mirrors are aligned and set correctly to make the observations.
Over the next six months, NASA technicians will continue their efforts to fine-tune the JWST, with a complex job of calibrating all the other telescope systems. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the first images made for research purposes will be released at the end of the summer.