NASA expects to release the first full-color images from its James Webb Telescope in less than a week. Judging by the comments made by those in the know, once the images are released they will “wow” the world.
The amazing nature of these photos has to do with the James Webb Telescope’s Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS). Developed by the Canadian Space Agency, FSG was designed to find and lock onto its targets. Recently it captured a view of stars and galaxies that provides a tantalizing glimpse at what the telescope’s science instruments will reveal in the coming weeks, months, and years.
FGS, says NASA, has always been capable of capturing imagery, explains NASA, but its primary purpose is to enable accurate science measurements and imaging with precision pointing.
Will you offer us a hand? Every gift, regardless of size, fuels our future.
Your critical contribution enables us to maintain our independence from shareholders or wealthy owners, allowing us to keep up reporting without bias. It means we can continue to make Jewish Business News available to everyone.
You can support us for as little as $1 via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the world waits for its first chance to examine the photos that have already been taken, NASA’s people have already seen them and have been appropriately wowed by the experience. Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s scientific programs leader. Told the press, “It’s really hard to not look at the universe in a new light and not just have a moment that is deeply personal,” he said. “It’s an emotional moment when you see nature suddenly releasing some of its secrets. And I would like you to imagine and look forward to that.”
And NASA’s deputy administrator, Pam Melroy, said that she was “moved” by the first images.
“With the Webb telescope achieving better-than-expected image quality, early in commissioning we intentionally defocused the guiders by a small amount to help ensure they met their performance requirements. When this image was taken, I was thrilled to clearly see all the detailed structure in these faint galaxies. Given what we now know is possible with deep broad-band guider images, perhaps such images, taken in parallel with other observations where feasible, could prove scientifically useful in the future,” said Neil Rowlands, program scientist for Webb’s Fine Guidance Sensor, at Honeywell Aerospace.
While Webb’s four science instruments will ultimately reveal the telescope’s new view of the universe, the Fine Guidance Sensor is the one instrument that will be used in every single Webb observation over the course of the mission’s lifetime. FGS has already played a crucial role in aligning Webb’s optics. Now, during the first real science observations made in June and once science operations begin in mid-July, it will guide each Webb observation to its target and maintain the precision necessary for Webb to produce breakthrough discoveries about stars, exoplanets, galaxies, and even moving targets within our solar system.
The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s largest, most powerful, and most complex space science telescope ever built. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.