Wondering About the 6 Rays Coming out of JWST's Test Image? Here's why They Happen

At the Space Telescope Science Institute (STSI) in Baltimore, Maryland, NASA engineers are busy aligning the mirrors and instruments on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). In the meantime, the mission team has provided us with another glimpse of what this observatory – a successor to the venerable Hubble Space Telescope – will see once it is fully operational. The latest teaser is a “telescope alignment evaluation image” of a distant star that looks red and spiked!

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Webb turns those 18 separate star images into a single unified star. Next comes even better focus.

It’s coming together! Engineers for the James Webb Space Telescope have now completed two more phases of the seven-step, three-month-long mirror alignment process. This week, the team made more adjustments to the mirror segments along with updating the alignment of its secondary mirror. These refinements allowed for all 18 mirror segments to work together — for the first time — to produce one unified image.

Continue reading “Webb turns those 18 separate star images into a single unified star. Next comes even better focus.”