Fine phasing of James Webb’s honeycomb mirror segments is now complete, revealing this first fully aligned image of star 2MASS J17554042+6551277 via the telescope’s NIRCam sensor.
This test image has exceeded NASAs expectations in terms of resolving power and clarity. You can even see well defined distant spiral galaxies in the background.
Unlike the Hubble space telescope the wavelengths of light gathered here is around 2 microns, within the infrared band of the electromagnetic spectrum (the region Webb has been designed to observe). These are wavelengths longer than the human eye can detect but ideal for revealing the evolutionary structure and morphology of stars and distant galaxies.
The Webb team will now continue with calibration of the on-board spectrographs, completing the full scientific instrument setup.
This process is expected to take several more months, but so far so good.