HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — NASA announced on Thursday that the alignment of the James Webb Space Telescope is now complete.

“After full review, the observatory has been confirmed to be capable of capturing crisp, well-focused images with each of its four powerful onboard science instruments,” a post by NASA stated.


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The telescope will now move to the final stage of preparations, called instrument commissioning. NASA stated the instrument commissioning process will take approximately two months before the telescope begins with operations.

NASA shared a series of images from Webb’s instruments, showing the completion of alignment:

This mosaic of five different star-packed images shows the field of view of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope as seen through its its four scientific instruments, and its Fine Guidance Sensor. All sensors are capturing images in full focus. For this test, Webb pointed at part of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, providing a dense field of hundreds of thousands of stars across all the observatory’s sensors. Each image shows a black field dotted with red-hued (colorized) stars. Webb’s three imaging instruments are NIRCam (images shown here at a wavelength of 2 microns), NIRISS (image shown here at 1.5 microns), and MIRI (shown at 7.7 microns, a longer wavelength revealing emission from interstellar clouds as well as starlight). MIRI's image contains bright stars with cloud like structures streaking across the frame. NIRSpec is a spectrograph rather than imager but can take images for calibrations and target acquisition. Dark regions visible in parts of the NIRSpec data are due to structures of its microshutter array, which has several hundred thousand controllable shutters that can be opened or shut to select which light is sent into the spectrograph. Webb’s Fine Guidance Sensor tracks guide stars to point the observatory accurately and precisely, its image set in the mosaic contains much brighter stars showing large 6-sided projections on the stars closest in the frame
(NASA)

“These remarkable test images from a successfully aligned telescope demonstrate what people across countries and continents can achieve when there is a bold scientific vision to explore the universe,” said Lee Feinberg, the Webb optical telescope element manager with NASA in the post.

With the alignment complete, the mirrors on the telescope are directing “fully focused light” into each instrument, and successfully capturing images from the light.

The Webb Telescope arrived at its observation post 1 million miles away from Earth in January. It is expected to be operational for over a decade and is the world’s most powerful telescope. The total cost of the Webb was $10 billion.