JWST is now 48 days out from its Christmas Day launch and in the midst of a commissioning process expected to last about six months. The telescope spent the first month unfolding from its launch configuration and trekking out nearly 1 million miles (1.5 million kilometers) away from Earth. During the bulk of the remaining time, scientists are focusing on waking and calibrating the observatory’s instruments and making the minute adjustments to the telescope’s 18 golden mirror segments that are necessary for crisp, clear images of the deep universe. The process is going well, according to NASA.
Still, the telescope has a long way to go, as today’s image of HD 84406 shows. […] HD 84406 is in the constellation Ursa Major, or Big Bear, but is not visible from Earth without a telescope. But it was a perfect early target for Webb because its brightness is steady and the observatory can always spot it, so launch or deployment delays wouldn’t affect the plan. Oddly, JWST won’t be able to observe HD 84406 later in its tenure; once the telescope is focused, this star will be too bright to look at. Previously, JWST personnel have said that the telescope will be seeing fairly sharply by late April. In addition to the image of HD 84406, NASA also shared a “selfie” image, which Gizmodo and CNN decided to focus on in their reports.
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