Countdown to the first Webb images

Countdown to the first Webb images

#Countdown #Webb #images

Commissioning of the James Webb Space Telescope is nearing completion. Webb’s sunshield, mirrors, instruments, and all other components are almost ready to begin the observatory’s long-awaited science activities! This historic moment will finally kick off on July 12, with the unveiling of Webb’s first high-resolution color images.

To watch the live broadcast of Webb’s first images, go to NASA Live on July 12 at 10:30 am (EDT).

An artist’s rendering of the James Webb Space Telescope in space. (Credit: STScI)

Since its launch on Christmas morning 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope has completed several crucial milestones that have helped it prepare for science observations. First, the telescope was fully unfolded and moved to its final destination, which orbits Lagrange point 2, 1.5 million miles from Earth, then had its mirror segments aligned and cooled down to operating temperature. optimal, which is only 40 degrees above absolute zero (or -233 degrees). Celsius). Now Webb just has to make sure his scientific instruments are working properly.

The Webb Telescope’s four science instruments are housed in the Integrated Science Instrument Module behind its main mirror. (Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

The Webb Telescope has four science instruments in addition to its guiding camera, the Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS), which was provided by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The four science instruments are capable of using a number of tools, methods and techniques to study the Universe in different ways.

  • the NIR camera (Near-InfraRed Camera) is a near-infrared camera provided by the University of Arizona that will be Webb’s main imaging tool. He may also perform coronagraphy, a technique of blocking light from a very bright central object to better see less bright objects around it. It also acts as the telescope’s wavefront sensor, allowing the 18 segments of the Webb mirror to operate as one large mirror.
  • the NIRSpec (Near-InfraRed Spectrograph) is a near-infrared spectrograph that breaks down light into its individual colors or wavelengths. It is provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) with contributions from NASA. You can collect the spectra of many objects at once, including through a method called integral field spectroscopy, which simultaneously records spatial and spectral information.
  • the MIRI (Mid-InfraRed Instrument), provided by the European Space Agency, is the only mid-infrared instrument aboard Webb. With this ability, you will be able to see the glow of cosmic dust and gas directly, rather than through it, as is the case with instruments that operate in the near-infrared. Since it observes longer wavelengths, it must be cooled to an even lower temperature: just 7 degrees above absolute zero.
  • the NIRISS (Near-InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph) is the Canadian scientific instrument. You can collect images and spectra of thousands of celestial objects at the same time in the near infrared. You can also use a technique called interferometry to take pictures of objects that are very close to each other. For more information on the four modes of NIRISS, check out this CSA blog post or this NASA blog post.

There are a total of 17 different modes that must be verified before the four Webb instruments are considered science-ready. (Credit: NASA/ESA/CSA)

A total of 17 different modes must be verified on all four instruments before Webb is ready for science. The Canadian team, including our director René Doyon and many other iREx researchers, are pleased to announce that the NIRISS instrument was the first to be science-ready on June 27! The MIRI team then announced that its instrument also completed full verification of its modes on June 30. NIRCam and NIRSpec will follow in the coming days.

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field, an image that required 800 exposures taken during Hubble’s 400 orbits around Earth in 2003 and 2004, shows nearly 10,000 galaxies, including some of the most distant galaxies known at the time. (Credit: NASA/ESA/S. Beckwith (STScI)/HUDF Team)

To mark the transition from the end of the Webb Telescope’s six-month start-up period to the beginning of its science observations, NASA, ESA, CSA and all other mission partners will broadcast on July 12 the first telescope color images. During a press conference on June 29, it was revealed that this highly anticipated first transmission will include the spectrum of an exoplanet’s atmosphere and the deepest image ever taken of the Universe, even deeper than the Hubble Telescope’s Ultra Deep Field.

We invite the world to share this incredible moment with the Webb team and astronomers from all over the planet:

  • Check the countdown : How many minutes are left for the inauguration? The official countdown is at
  • Listen live to the presentation event of the first images : Watch the images revealed in real time and hear experts talk about these exciting results on NASA TV at 10:30 am (EDT) on July 12:
  • See the first images : Are you interested in the amazing images? You can find the first spectra and images at the following address:
  • Follow agencies on social media : Follow the project on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with @asc_csa, @NASA, and @NASAWebb using #UnfoldTheUniverse!
  • Download images : High resolution downloads and bonus content will be available at:
  • ask your questions : On July 13, ask your questions about these first images and spectra using #UnfoldtheUniverse, and you can get the answer on NASA Science Live at:

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