CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA's new space telescope has captured its first starlight and even taken a selfie of its giant, gold mirror.
Bonus image! When it’s time to focus, sometimes you need to take a good look at yourself.
This “selfie” taken by Webb of its primary mirror was not captured by an externally mounted engineering camera, but with a special lens within its NIRCam instrument. #UnfoldTheUniverse pic.twitter.com/XtzCdktrCA
— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) February 11, 2022
Officials for the James Webb Space Telescope said Friday that all 18 segments of the primary mirror seem to be working properly 1 1/2 months into the mission.
Starting last week, each mirror segment was pointed at a bright star 258 light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major.
Over the next few months, these segments will be aligned and focused as one, allowing science observations to begin by the end of June.
"Webb’s images will only become clearer and more detail-laden as its instruments arrive at their intended operating temperatures and start capturing data," NASA said.
Webb's 21-foot, gold-plated mirror is the largest ever launched into space.
One of its primary goals is to study galaxy formation and evolution. NASA says in its first year in space, researchers will lead more than 400 hours of observations.