First Pictures Captured From Most Powerful Telescope Ever Created

First Pictures Captured From Most Powerful Telescope Ever Created

Nithin Prabhu, Writer


JWST First PictureOn Feb 11, NASA released the first picture from the James Webb Telescope (JWST) using NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera). The picture is from the star HD-84406. These pictures will only be used to help align the mirror and instruments inside JWST and not for science.

JWST sends its information to Earth by using its 0.6 m Ka-band high-gain antenna and as a 0.2 m S-band medium-gain antenna. JWST was positioned in L2 (Second Lagrange Point) which is a point in space where all gravitational pull is equally balanced. JWST is in a halo orbit around L2, and the reason NASA chose to place JWST in L2 is that L2 is farthest from the Sun, and the Earth and Moon provide a shadow for JWST.  JWST was launched from Ariane 5, a launch vehicle owned by ESA (European Space Agency). 

Aligning the telescope means properly moving the mirrors on JWST so you get a good, sharp image, as well as the instruments inside JWST so they can be ready to observe the universe. For example, they will have to test and move all of the filters and cameras, etc. to make sure they work properly. Aligning is estimated to be finished during the summer. But the reason why you see 18 individual ‘dots’ is because the mirrors aren’t aligned yet. If they were aligned properly you would see one image and not multiple ‘dots’. In general, the mirror reflects light, and when they are aligned, those mirrors are reflecting the light. They are stacked on top of each other which gets you that focused, one ‘dot’ picture. The reason why NASA chose HD- 84406 is because that specific star is isolated from any other stars and light so it makes it a perfect start to focus on and help align JWST. 

Franklin High School freshman, Puranjai Kandula thinks that the mirror alignment should be taken as much time as needed so we can get the sharpest pictures we can get and not blurry ones like the one we from Hubble. Kandula also states that he is very excited to see the very first clear, aligned image from JWST and then later in the future, scientific discoveries.