Webb Watch

Focus! NASA drops jaw-dropping new Webb Telescope images

The James Webb Space Telescope hasn’t even begun official scientific operations, but that hasn’t stopped the Webb team from dropping some seriously stunning images as it comes online in space.

Javier Zayas Photography/Moment/Getty Images

On April 28, Webb’s team made a fresh — and unexpected — drop: A composite image showing all Webb’s instruments are now aligned and in focus.

And they are unlike anything we have seen yet...

This image shows the observations gathered from Webb’s five main instruments, NIRSpec, NIRCam, MIRI, the Fine Guidance Sensor, and NIRISS.

Here’s a breakdown of each image and its instrument...

The NIRSpec instrument is a spectrograph. The instrument can gather information from distant objects in the universe, like their mass, composition, and more. NIRSpec is designed to look at 100 objects — whether they are galaxies or stars — at one time.


This image shows how brightly distant objects like galaxies and stars shine in NIRSpec.

4. NIRCam

NIRCam is Webb’s number one when it comes to taking images of the early universe. It can see early galaxies, star formation, and more.


NIRCam will reveal stars in unprecedented detail — including the youngest stars in the Milky Way.


MIRI is also an imaging tool, but it has to work at super-cold temperatures. It’s taken a while to cool down far enough to be operational, but we’re finally here!

In this image, MIRI is looking at a very bright object — but the instrument is designed to see beyond the dazzle and capture fainter, intriguing details that could be lost in the light.

2. Fine Guidance Sensor

Without the Fine Guidance Sensor, Webb wouldn’t be able to point at targets accurately. It’s a vital part of the telescope’s success.


NIRISS is a complement instrument for NIRCam and NIRSpec.

NIRISS will enable NIRCam and NIRSpec in all their observations, and is definitely the last but not least of the Webb Telescope’s instruments!

What’s next?

The James Webb Space Telescope is on track to start turning its instruments on and testing them before it begins its science operations in summer 2022. We can’t wait.


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