(ORDO NEWS) — The agency is finally beginning to commission its James Webb Space Telescope , a historic moment, the culmination of billions of dollars of investment and more than three decades of hard work , according to a NASA statement.
The telescope has recently reached its orbital destination , called the second Lagrange point (L2); in this position, the Earth will always be exactly between “James Webb” and the Sun.
Now the NASA team is gearing up to turn on the telescope’s many scientific instruments and finally get “first light.” However, James Webb will not start observing immediately, as the agency says it could take months to set up the equipment.
NASA asks “James Webb” to cool down
First, the telescope would have to turn off the heating system to allow the instruments to reach their extremely low operating temperatures. For example, his Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) is designed to observe the mid-infrared spectrum at temperatures as low as 6 kelvins, or -267.15 degrees Celsius.
The instruments must be cold, as warm objects radiate light and heat, which will eventually ruin the observations.
Currently, the NASA team is preparing to align each of the 18 segments of the main “golden mirror”, which is an extremely painstaking process, as specialists need to ensure that all segments are focused on one point.
If everything goes smoothly, astronomers will have a lot of new data in the near future that could forever change our understanding of the universe.
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