JWST entering “home stretch” of commissioning

Image Credit:industryupdate.com

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The James Webb Space Telescope is performing better than planned as it nears completion of commissioning, according to project officials.

Scientists and mission managers said in a conference call with reporters that they have finished aligning the telescope's optics with all of its instruments

 now moving on to setting up the instruments for science operations, the final step in a commissioning process that began shortly after the telescope's launch on Christmas Day last year.

"The performance is even better than we expected," said Michael McElwain, project scientist for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center's JWST observatory.

"We've pretty much perfected the telescope alignment." There are no changes to the telescope optics that would boost our science performance significantly."

Later, when asked to quantify that "better than expected" performance, he indicated the static wavefront error is "much better" than expected.

Image Credit:spacenews

"What this indicates is that we were able to place the telescope mirrors with greater accuracy and precision than we had planned for, so we're exceeding expectations."

He claimed that reducing error increased the equipment' sensitivity and resolution.

Images collected by the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) demonstrate that the telescope resolution is diffraction restricted at important wavelengths

meaning its images are as crisp as possible under the laws of physics, according to Marcia Rieke, principle investigator of one of JWST's sensors. 

"It's astonishing that the image quality is so good," she added, "and it's going to help our science a lot."

be updated with technology updates


Click Here