The most powerful telescope that ever made nearly completed its unfolding and launching process, says NASA.
Telescope was launched on Christmas Morning and its solar panel wings were fully launched 3 days ago. In these terminal steps, two panels on either side of the telescope’s array of 18 gold-plated hexagonal mirrors, folded back during launch, just snap into place to complete Webb’s honeycomb-like reflector. The 21-foot-wide mirror sends light from the cosmos into a secondary mirror, which then bounces the light into the telescope’s main infrared sensor.
Unfolding these panels of mirrors is a crucial milestone along the way to being a fully functional telescope. This 10 Billion Dollar adult toy will be used for scientific studies such as the Big Bang, exoplanets, black holes, white holes and our solar system. Once it is completed, NASA considers the telescope “fully deployed.”
It seems the telescope has now fully deployed and it may take some time to be considered as fully operational.
Let me quote New York Times
Around 10:15 a.m. Eastern time, the mission’s managers sent the first commands to begin unfolding the mirrors. Shortly before 10:30, the panel slowly swung open so that the three hexagonal mirrors tessellated snugly with the other 15. Staff applauded before moving on to the next steps of latching the mirrors into place. That process is expected to take at least two hours, concluding by around 1:30 p.m.“I’m emotional about it,” Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s science chief, said of all the telescope’s mirrors finally clicking into place. “What an amazing milestone — we see that beautiful pattern out there in the sky now almost complete. Of course it needs to latch, but what an amazing milestone.”The New York Times
But you won’t be able to see what’s happening on the telescope itself. According to NASA, the telescope does not have its own camera to monitor itself. NASA has put their full faith in blind sensors and mechanical functions.
This telescope does have a special purpose that you may be happy to know. Webb telescope will enable you to have a pocket planetarium as you enjoy Instagram with your smartphone. NASA Promises Space at your fingertips.
Hopefully, wait for a full detailed article from Anu Bernard
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