Science & Technology News

The James Webb Space Telescope Has Begun an Incredibly Complicated Alignment Process

The James Webb Space Telescope has recently reached its destination. According to NASA, the device has now moved on to the alignment process.

Due to the enormous complexity of the observatory's 18-segment mirror, this process will take three months, although the first photons of starlight have already been detected by instruments. The complexity of alignment is perhaps the highest in the history of astronomy, since the entire segments of the main mirror of the telescope must correspond to each other to within a fraction of the wavelength of light - about 50 nanometers. NASA gives this analogy: if Webb's primary mirror were the size of the United States, each segment would be the size of Texas, and the team would need to align those Texas-sized segments with each other to within about 1.5 inches.

It is important that now the initial results are in line with expectations and simulations. If everything goes well, we will see the first photos in the summer.

The James Webb Space Telescope Has Begun an Incredibly Complicated Alignment Process