Webb NIRISS Instrument has Gone Offline

Artist impression of the James Webb Space Telescope. Credit: ESA.

The JWST is having a problem. One of its instruments, the Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS,) has gone offline. The NIRISS performs spectroscopy on exoplanet atmospheres, among other things.

It’s been offline since Sunday. January 15th due to a communications error.

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By Blocking the Light From a Star, Webb Reveals the Dusty Disk Surrounding It

These coronagraphic images of a disk around the star AU Microscopii, captured by Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), show compass arrows, scale bar, and color key for reference. Image Credit: SCIENCE: NASA, ESA, CSA, Kellen Lawson (NASA-GSFC), Joshua E. Schlieder (NASA-GSFC) IMAGE PROCESSING: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

AU Microscopii is a small red dwarf star about 32 light-years away. It’s far too dim for the unaided human eye, but that doesn’t diminish its appeal. The star has at least two exoplanets and hosts a circumstellar debris disk.

It’s also young, only about 23 million years old, and it’s the second-closest pre-main sequence star to Earth. The JWST recently imaged the star and its surroundings and found something surprising.

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JWST Pioneer Passes Along Advice for Future Space Telescope Builders

John Mather
Nobel-winning physicist John Mather is the senior project scientist for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. (NASA Photo / Chris Gunn)

After a quarter-century of development, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is a smashing success. But senior project scientist John Mather, a Nobel-winning physicist who’s played a key role in the $10 billion project since the beginning, still sees some room for improvement.

Mather looked back at what went right during JWST’s creation, as well as what could be done better the next time around, during a lecture delivered today at the American Astronomical Society’s winter meeting in Seattle.

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The Webb Has Confirmed its First Exoplanet, and it’s the Same Size as Earth.

This artist's illustration shows the exoplanet LHS 474 b, the first exoplanet detected by the James Webb Space Telescope. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, L. Hustak (STScI)

The James Webb Space Telescope is the most powerful telescope ever launched into space. That power has led to a string of observational successes: ancient galaxies, obscured star-forming regions, and an exoplanet atmosphere. Now the telescope has identified its first exoplanet, and it’s a rocky planet the same size as Earth.

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The James Webb Links Modern Green Pea Galaxies to Ancient Galaxies in the Cosmic Dawn

A trio of faint objects (circled) captured in the James Webb Space Telescope’s deep image of the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 exhibit properties remarkably similar to rare, small galaxies called “green peas” found much closer to home. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

When the James Webb Space Telescope lifted off from Earth on Christmas Day in 2021, it carried a lot of expectations with it. One of its scientific goals is to seek the light from the first galaxies in the Universe and to study how galaxies form and evolve.

A new paper shows that the JWST is doing just that and has found a link between the first galaxies and rare galaxies in our backyard that astronomers call “Green Pea” galaxies.

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Webb Stares Deeply Into the Universe, Showing How Galaxies Assemble

This image represents a portion of the full PEARLS field, which will be about four times larger. Thousands of galaxies over an enormous range in distance and time are seen in exquisite detail, many for the first time. Image Credit: SCIENCE: NASA, ESA, CSA, Rolf A. Jansen (ASU), Jake Summers (ASU), Rosalia O'Brien (ASU), Rogier Windhorst (ASU), Aaron Robotham (UWA), Anton M. Koekemoer (STScI), Christopher Willmer (University of Arizona), JWST PEARLS Team IMAGE PROCESSING: Rolf A. Jansen (ASU), Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

The James Webb Space Telescope is delivering a deluge of images and data to eager scientists and other hungry-minded people. So far, the telescope has shown us the iconic Pillars of Creation like we’ve never seen them before, the details of very young stars as they grow inside their dense cloaks of gas, and a Deep Field that’s taken over from the Hubble’s ground-breaking Deep Field and Ultra Deep Field images. And it’s only getting started.

True to its main science objectives, the JWST has peered back in time to the Universe’s earliest galaxies looking for clues to how they assemble and evolve.

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JWST Sees Furious Star Formation in a Stellar Nursery

Image of the Carina Nebula (NGC 3324) captured by Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), Credit: NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI

The powerful James Webb Space Telescope is a mighty technological tool. Astrophysicists first conceived it over 20 years ago, and after many twists and turns, it was launched on December 2st, 2021. Now it’s in a halo orbit at the Sun-Earth L2 point, where it will hopefully continue operating for 20 years.

It’s only been a few months since its first images were released, and it’s already making progress in answering some of the Universe’s most compelling questions. In a newly-released image, the JWST peered deep inside massive clouds of gas and dust to watch young stars come to life in their stellar cocoons.

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Webb Completes its First “Deep Field” With Nine Days of Observing Time. What did it Find?

This image taken by the James Webb Space Telescope highlights the region of study by the JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey (JADES). This area is in and around the Hubble Space Telescope’s Ultra Deep Field. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, and M. Zamani (ESA/Webb).

About 13 billion years ago, the stars in the Universe’s earliest galaxies sent photons out into space. Some of those photons ended their epic journey on the James Webb Space Telescope’s gold-plated, beryllium mirrors in the last few months. The JWST gathered these primordial photons over several days to create its first “Deep Field” image.

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New Images of Titan From JWST and Keck Telescopes Reveal a Rare Observation

Evolution of clouds on Titan over 30 hours between November 4 and November 6, 2022, as seen by Webb NIRCam (left) and Keck NIRC-2 (right). Credit: SCIENCE: NASA, ESA, CSA, Webb Titan GTO Team IMAGE PROCESSING: Alyssa Pagan (STScI).

Planetary scientists have greatly anticipated using the James Webb Space Telescope’s infrared vision to study Saturn’s enigmatic moon Titan and its atmosphere. The wait is finally over and the results are spectacular. Plus, JWST had a little help from one of its ground-based observatory friends in helping to decode some strange features in the new images. Turns out, JWST had just imaged a rare event on Titan: clouds.

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Gaze Slack-jawed at the Haunting Beauty of Galaxy NGC 1566, Captured by JWST, Processed by Judy Schmidt

NGC 1566, as seen by the James Webb Space Telescope's Mid-Infrared Instrument. Credit: NASA/ESA/CSA/Judy Schmidt.

Here’s an absolutely stunning new view from the James Webb Space Telescope of a dusty spiral galaxy, NGC 1566. Amateur (but expert!) image editor Judy Schmidt took the raw data from JWST’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) and teased out this eerie, spider-web-like view of this distant galaxy. The swirling and symmetrical arms are so full of dust that not many stars are visible.

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