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Astronomer Says New Webb Space Telescope Images Made Him Emotional

The communities of science and astronomy are excitedly anticipating Tuesday, July 12. The first photos collected by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be made public on that day, according to NASA! These photographs will contain the most in-depth views of the Universe ever captured as well as spectra collected from an exoplanet atmosphere, according to a previous NASA release. Another quote from a recent news conference said that Thomas Zarbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD), was nearly moved to tears by the photographs.

The $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope is the most potent and sophisticated observatory ever put into operation. The telescope had to be made such that it could be folded up to fit within a payload fairing, then unfold once it reached space, due to its intricate mirror system and sophisticated solar screen. The telescope needed to be thoroughly tested to make sure everything would function, which resulted in multiple delays and cost overruns.

The observatory has successfully unfurled, commissioned its scientific equipment, and arrived to the L2 Lagrange Point, where it will stay for the duration of its mission, since it was launched on Christmas Day in 2021. Additionally, all 18 of its segmented mirrors, which are stacked in a honeycomb shape with a diameter of 6.5 metres (more than 21 feet) and are nearly three times larger than Hubble’s primary mirror, were correctly aligned. Earlier, NASA made available test photos the Webb Space Telescope captured of a star located 2,000 light-years away from Earth and pointed toward the constellation Ursa Major (HD 84406).

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