(ORDO NEWS) — The James Webb Telescope is in the commissioning phase and is preparing to open to see the birth of our universe.
The telescope, which is ready to see the first moments immediately after the Big Bang and reveal the secret of our existence, began to cool down. This is good, as it will allow us to see the birth of the first galaxies in the universe.
The mid-infrared instrument (MIRI) aboard the flying observatory has reached its final operating temperature of below -266 degrees Celsius.
Why does the James Webb telescope need to be cooled?
The main reason a telescope has to be so cold is because it has to observe the universe in infrared light. While distant galaxies, stars encased in dust, and planets outside our solar system emit infrared light, so do warmer objects, including telescope electronics, which would make observations erroneous.
NASA said cooling the four instruments’ detectors and surrounding equipment suppresses these infrared emissions, and since the telescope’s instrumentation detects longer infrared wavelengths, it should be even colder.
In addition, cold temperatures also help to suppress electrical currents generated in the detectors themselves, giving the false impression that they have been illuminated by an external source.
The scientists began diagnosing the telescope after it reached the target temperature of -266 degrees Celsius. They gave a series of commands to the telescope to see if it could perform the tasks correctly.
There are still many challenges that the research team will have to face before the telescope is fully functional. Now that the system is at its operating temperature, team members will take test images of stars and other known objects that can be used to calibrate and verify instrument operation and functionality.
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