State of Webb 2022-02-14

in STEMGeeks6 months ago

Credit: NASA

I didn't write anything about the JWST yet, but did follow it the last half year at least to the bone.

Our christmas at home was driven by its launch from Kourou in French Guiana. After lunch we watched it on 2 laptops and 1 TV.
Most part of my family was not so interested, but that didn't stop my to occupy the complete living room with my computers.
One for the feed from ESA, the other one for NASA. And the big TV just for fun.
Of course, they were not in sync, so it was like an echo the whole time.
Much fun for the rest of the family:)

I was so excited, those seconds during the launch, between "Top" and "Décollage", I was extremly worried, why it didn't start.
Yeah, that is nothing new and common, all engine start is there and such.
But still, it felt like ages.
The whole way up, my only thoughts were, "Don't explode, don't explode, don't explode".

But nothing happened, everything was very nominal.
27 Minutes in I felt a bit misty eyed, "seperation space telescope. Go Webb!"
It went on its way towards L2.

You can rewatch it here:

And the aftermath from the launch made me a bit proud of ESA and the Ariane Group.
In fact, the launch was so nominal, that no major correction burns were necessary.
That means, its current estimated time of operation was doubled from 10 to up to 20 years, that it could deliver data from L2.

Every step on its way to L2 could have gone wrong, the unfolding of the sun shields, setting the second mirror in place, deployment of the mirror segments, etc.

And now we have a first picture.

Credit: NASA

pf, that doesn't look that good

HD 84406

Well, you wouldn't see it that easy with your eyes anyway.
HD 84406 has a Magnitude of 6.9, is located in the constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Dipper.
Why that star?
It is bright..ish and has no bright other stars around it.
Perfect to calibrate the mirror segment.
And after thousands of pictures the above shown was calculated.
Pretty well for a first shot.
Only Segments A3 and A4 seem to be extremly out of bound.
The rest are looking straight forward:)

Now every segment has to be adjusted, so in the end they point this star to the middle of the second mirror, that will reflect it to the instruments back on JWST.

Following up on JWST is just so much fun.
I didn't think, that we could get already some pictures from it.
Can't wait for summer when calibrating and cooling down of all instruments is finished and real images can be taken.

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ROFL
I agree that Ariane launches do have that weird second where I think they have a fail and then it launches. Gets me every time.
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