Space telescope James Webb sent first photo from space
As NASA announced on Friday, the telescope took a photo of the star HD 84406 from the constellation of the Big Dipper. The image shows a black background, with 18 blurred points of light in front of it - all showing one and the same star reflected by the 18 segments of the primary mirror.
NASA says the image will help adjust the mirror's alignment. "The entire Webb team is excited about how well the first steps of imaging and aligning the telescope are going," said University of Arizona astronomy professor Marcia Rieke, who is involved in the project.
The telescope is expected to be ready for use in June. Until then, according to NASA, the instruments still have to be cooled down and calibrated and the mirrors precisely adjusted.
Much more powerful than Hubble
The James Webb Telescope will explore the early days of the universe 13 billion years ago and thus only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. Astronomers hope to draw conclusions about the formation of the first stars and galaxies.
The most powerful telescope to date far surpasses its predecessor Hubble in size and complexity. It looks further into space than Hubble and thus also further back into the past. Webb concentrates on infrared radiation.
An Ariane 5 rocket brought the Webb telescope into space from the spaceport in Kourou in French Guyana on Christmas Day. Because it was too big for the rocket, it had to be folded up before launch. Named after a former director of the US space agency, the telescope was jointly developed by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).