First image from the Webb telescope, is of a VIDEO star

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NASA unveils the very first image taken by the James Webb space telescope, launched at Christmas and which is now 1.5 million kilometers from Earth: it is a somewhat confused and blurred portrait of the star HD 84406, the first of a series of test images that in the coming months will serve to align the mirrors of the telescope to make it fully operational, in order to obtain the first real scientific images in the summer.
The latest updates are presented at a press conference by NASA technicians, who conduct the mission in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian (CSA). Italy has an important role in the mission, with the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF).

The first image of the Webb telescope is a mosaic image in which 18 luminous points are recognized: they are 18 reflections of the same star (the HD 84406, in the constellation Ursa Major), whose light was captured by each of the 18 segments of the primary mirror (not yet aligned) and then reflected on the secondary mirror, to be then conveyed into the Near Infrared Camera (NirCam).

Mosaic of images obtained by pointing the Webb telescope at the Ursa Major star called HD 84406 (source: NASA)

Over the next few months, the team will gradually adjust the mirror segments until the 18 points overlap to become a single, well-focused star. The image capture process began on February 2 and lasted 25 hours: the telescope was pointed at 156 different positions around the star’s predicted one and thus generated 1,560 images for a total of 54 gigabytes of raw data. The images were then composed to produce a single large mosaic of over 2 billion pixels.

In addition to the first image of the star HD 84406, the Webb telescope was also able to take a black and white selfie of its giant primary mirror thanks to a special lens from the NirCam. All 18 segments are turned towards the star to receive its light, but only one appears illuminated in the photo: this is because it is perfectly aligned with the star from the point of view of the NirCam that captures it.

The first selfie of the James Webb space telescope, in particular of its main mirror (source: NASA)

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Source: Ansa

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