By presenting photos of the Great Magellanic Cloud, NASA has announced that the James Webb space telescope is nearing completion. At a cost of tens of billions of dollars, the telescope, built over several decades, is currently orbiting one and a half million kilometers from Earth at the so-called L2 gravitational equilibrium point.
Calibration of on-board systems and scientific instruments took several months.
I can say that this is already the finish line. About a thousand tasks have to be completed for commissioning, of which only about two hundred are left
Michael McElwain of the JWST program told CNN.
McElwain also said the test photos presented are the sharpest images ever taken by a space telescope. By comparison, the new images were compared to infrared images from the Spitzer space telescope, which retired in early 2020.
Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech (left), NASA / ESA / CSA / STScI (right
The Great Magellanic Cloud is a smaller galaxy orbiting the Milky Way 163,000 light-years away.
The James Webb space telescope will begin scientific work this summer and will not only be able to look back to the beginning of the Universe, but will even be able to study the atmosphere of some exoplanets. It has not yet been disclosed which part of the sky to examine first.