Following the completion of critical mirror alignment steps, the James Webb Space Telescope team has great confidence that the observatory’s optical performance will meet or exceed the science goals it was built to achieve.
On March 11, the Webb team completed the stage of alignment known as “fine phasing” – and at this key stage in the commissioning of Webb’s Optical Telescope Element, every optical parameter that has been checked and tested is performing at, or above, expectations.
The team found no critical issues and no measurable contamination or blockages to Webb’s optical path. The observatory is able to successfully gather light from distant objects and deliver it to its instruments without issue.
Although there are months to go before Webb ultimately delivers its new view of the cosmos, achieving this milestone means the team is confident that Webb’s first-of-its-kind optical system is working as well as possible.