James Webb Space Telescope aligns its 18 hexagonal mirror segments

Special to CosmicTribune.com, March 23, 2022


2MASS J17554042+6551277 is the coordinate-based catalog designation of the star centered in this sharp field of view of the world’s largest space telescope which was launched on Dec. 25, 2021.

The diffraction pattern is created by the 18 hexagonal mirror segments of the James Webb Space Telescope. After unfolding, the segments have now been adjusted to achieve a diffraction limited alignment at infrared wavelengths while operating in concert as a single 6.5 meter diameter primary mirror.

The resulting image taken by Webb’s NIRcam demonstrates their precise alignment is the best physics will allow. 2MASS J17554042+6551277 is about 2,000 light-years away and well within our own galaxy. But the galaxies scattered across the background of the Webb telescope alignment evaluation image are likely billions of light-years distant, far beyond the Milky Way.


NASA technicians use a crane to move the James Webb Space Telescope, with its 21-foot primary mirror at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. / NASA / Desiree Stover


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