NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope captures first image with fully-aligned mirror

Ashley Bu, Reporter

A star shines brightly with several galaxies in the background. The photo was taken using the James Webb Space Telescope in the infrared spectrum. (NASA/STScI)

After being set out into space on December 25th of 2021 and arriving at the second Lagrange point, the James Webb Space Telescope takes its first image as a result of a fully aligned mirror.

The celestial object pictured is a star located about 2,000 light years away. The James Webb has 18 small hexagonal mirrors. They have recently aligned together to form one large mirror. Scientists focused the telescope onto this star to take the sharp image.

This is not the first image taken by the telescope. In January, the James Webb telescope captured an image of the star HD 88406 located in the Big Dipper constellation about 260 light years away. It was used to start the mirror’s alignment process.

The James Webb Space Telescope’s first image shows a mosaic of a single star HD 88406 through 18 smaller mirrors. It was taken during the first phase of mirror assembly. (NASA)

“I’m happy to say that the optical performance of the telescope is absolutely phenomenal, it is really working extremely well. The performance is as good if not better than our most optimistic prediction,” Lee Feinberg, a manager of the telescope, said in a virtual NASA briefing, according to

Due to the mirrors being aligned properly, allowing to take a very sharp but sensitive photo that can detect galaxies in the background, the telescope can proceed to its third phase of alignment. The next phase will align the infrared components of the telescope in order to optimize its ability to capture images of celestial objects that are further away.