JWST Getting a Sharper Eye on the Universe

March 02, 2022

The James Webb Telescope (JWST) is on its way to becoming the first observatory of its kind in deep space. The team has successfully completed the second and third out of seven total phases of mirror alignment. The 18 small mirrors have gone through their initial alignment and focus and can now produce a single image of a star! 

Now entering the fourth phase of mirror alignment, the team will begin fine-tuning the positions of Webb’s mirrors. 

The Webb mission, a joint effort of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency, will peer back farther into the universe’s past from within our solar system to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe. However, with sharp accuracy still required, JWST first science images are expected to appear by July 2022. Read more about the anticipated scientific impacts of JWST observations on this ESSC Blog. 

© NASA/C. Gunn
A hexagonal image array captured by the NIRCam instrument shows the progress made during the Segment Alignment phase, further aligning Webb’s 18 primary mirror segments and secondary mirror using precise movements commanded from the ground. © NASA/STScI