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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has a shiny Giant Mirror

The James Webb Space Telescope, a joint collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency, is set to be the most powerful space telescope ever. The mirror comprises 18 smaller mirrors that together will allow mission teams to use the scope to measure light from extremely distant galaxies, billions of light-years away.

Webb is set to space on Dec. 22 from the Guiana Space Center, or Europe’s Spaceport, in Korou, French Guiana.primary mirror spans 21 feet, 4 inches (6.5 meters) across, and is made up of 18 hexagonal mirror segments measuring 4.3 feet (1.32 m) in diameter.also has a small secondary mirror that measures just 2.4 feet (0.74 m) across.

This makes Webb primary mirror significantly larger than that of the Hubble Space Telescope, which has a mirror that measures 7.8 feet (2.4 meters) across.The space telescope’s signature honeycomb mirror segments are shaped as such because the pieces can fit together in a way that makes it possible for the primary mirror, made up of all of the pieces, to be a roughly circular shape.

In addition to its shape that helps it to pick up light from very far away, Webb mirror operates with the help of what are called actuators. Actuators are tiny mechanical motors that help the mirror to focus on far-off objects. There are six actuators on the back of each mirror piece that can move each piece of the mirror in minuscule amounts very slowly, allowing the mission team to fine-tune Webb view.

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