James Webb Telescope nears completion of instrument inspection

James Webb Telescope nears completion of instrument inspection

as recently reported digital appearance, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will release images of its first scientific operation on July 12. The identities of the first targets are kept under wraps by the team in charge of the telescope, which has spent five years selecting from surveys by various space agencies to determine what these first images will show.

Components of the James Webb Space Telescope.Source: NASA

Before that happens, however, it will be necessary to complete the final validation of the four instruments that make up the next-generation observatory. According to NASA, almost half of the program has been completed.

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The four cutting-edge instruments will allow to observe the most distant and oldest galaxies, which formed in the early universe several hundred million years after the Big Bang, and analyze their chemical composition.

The instruments have 17 observation modes, each of which needs to be tested before the telescope can start working.

“Follow Webb’s progress?” NASA tweeted Friday (17th). “Good news: As of today, 7 of Webb’s 17 instrument modes are ready for science.”

According to Jonathan Gardner, senior associate project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, “Each mode has a set of observations and analyses that need to be validated, some of which cannot be validated until the end of commissioning.”

A detailed “check-off” list of observatory instrument modes can be found on the “Where’s Webb” page.

For each of the 17 patterns, the team selected a “representative example of a scientific goal” to be observed during Webb’s first year of scientific operations, called Cycle 1 (Cycle 1), Gardner said. A full list of observations is available at this website). ).

“These are just examples,” Gardner added. “Each mode will be used for many targets, and most of Webb’s scientific targets will be observed using more than one instrument and/or mode.”

The surveys cover Webb’s main science goals, from observing very early galaxies to examining planets, moons, asteroids and other objects in the solar system.

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Explore the instruments of the James Webb Space Telescope

The JWST comes with an Integrated Scientific Instrument Module (ISIM), which has four instruments:

NIRCam (Near Infrared Camera): A camera capable of detecting light in wavelengths ranging from visible light (0.6 microns) to short infrared wavelengths (5 microns).

NIRSpec (Near Infrared Spectrometer): A spectrometer capable of analyzing light of the same frequency as the NIRCam uses. Spectroscopic analysis is used to determine the elements that make up objects, such as the atmospheres of galaxies or exoplanets.

MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument): A camera and spectrometer combination that analyzes infrared light at medium and long distances (between 5 and 27 microns).

FGS/NIRISS (Fine Guidance Sensor and NIR Imager and Slitless Spectrometer): This is actually two instruments. The first (FGS) is used to stabilize the telescope’s line of sight during observations. Its data is used to control the spacecraft’s orientation and fine-steering mirrors for image stabilization mechanisms. NIRISS (Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrometer) is a module for photographic and astronomical spectroscopy capable of recording light at frequencies from 0.8 to 5 microns.

Both NIRCam and MIRI are equipped with coronagraphs that block direct light from stars so that light from their corona and nearby objects that are not too bright can be studied.

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