2 Months More, James Webb Telescope Starts Scientific Operation

The telescope is currently in the final stages of setup procedures.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA — The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will start scientific operations in two months. The telescope has traveled more than a million miles from Earth.

On April 28, 2022, NASA revealed that the powerful spacecraft was nearing the end of the final stages of preparation, known as commissioning instrumen sains.

Although the JWST has reached the final stages of the setup procedure, there are still some tasks and benchmarks to complete before data collection officially begins.

Klaus Pontoppidan, JWST project scientist at the Institute of Space Telescope Science explained that, although the 18 segments of the JWST hexagonal mirror were recently fully aligned, there are still many space telescope instruments that need to be perfected.

“Astronomers are a quantitative group. They want more than just pretty pictures, they want to actually be able to take quantitative measurements,” Pontoppidan said PopSci.

This new step includes checking each instrument’s function, evaluating its performance, and calibrating the system to ensure that the critical sequence of operations can be followed to the end. This stage is very important to ensure that all subsequent data collection goes well.

Test a moving target that will be used to follow the asteroid through space. This test ensures that JWST can distinguish signs of planets outside our solar system, or exoplanets, is one of the tests on the JWST checklist.

Other tests will involve pointing the telescope at various parts of the sky, including the Large Magellanic Cloud, to measure and then correct any optical distortions the equipment may have.

The telescope has four instruments, each of which is designed to collect data in a specific way. Cameras and spectrographic sensors have been tuned to detect electromagnetic waves in the medium to near infrared range, which are emitted by distant cosmic objects that are undetectable to our eyes.

Once the device’s performance tests are complete, they will detect and photograph distant galaxies and newly formed stars. Furthermore, the data can be used to determine the mass, temperature, chemical composition, and other physical properties of many celestial bodies.

According to Scott Friedman, an observatory scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute and a scientist assigned to the JWST project, the measurements made by JWST will not be used for the study for several months of testing.

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