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We are excited to report that the James Webb Space Telescope continues to perform as anticipated! The NASA Webb blog reports that the telescope is nearing completion of the first phase of the months-long process of aligning the observatory’s primary mirror using the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) instrument. 


The team’s challenge was twofold: confirm that NIRCam was ready to collect light from celestial objects, and then identify starlight from the same star in each of the 18 primary mirror segments. The result is an image mosaic of 18 randomly organized dots of starlight, the product of Webb’s unaligned mirror segments all reflecting light from the same star back at Webb’s secondary mirror and into NIRCam’s detectors.


What looks like a simple image of blurry starlight now becomes the foundation to align and focus the telescope in order for Webb to deliver unprecedented views of the universe this summer. Over the next month or so, the team will gradually adjust the mirror segments until the 18 images become a single star. You can see that image, as well as a “selfie,” at the blog.


If you think this is cool, just wait until Webb’s official first image comes to Earth in July! Please remember to apply to be a part of the Webb Community Events. If you have already applied, thank you! The application is due Friday, February 25, 2022. Read more about the initiative and apply to participate. The application is quite simple – we aren’t asking you to have all the details of your event ready. We understand that you’ll decide many details later.


And once you have completed all of your launch events, please fill out the evaluation form to tell us how we did and how we can do better!


We wanted to remind you that there are two weeks left in the application period to be a Webb Community Event host for first images. If you have already applied, thank you!  


The application is due Friday, February 25, 2022. Read more about the initiative and apply to participate. The application is quite simple – we aren’t asking you to have all the details of your event ready. We understand that you’ll decide many details later.


And once you have completed all of your launch events, please fill out the evaluation form to tell us how we did and how we can do better!


The goal of the Community Events initiative is to create and nurture generations of science enthusiasts, including underserved audiences, through long-term, meaningful engagement with Webb’s discoveries. We value the participation of all communities and all people in our collective scientific journey. Therefore, we welcome venues of all sizes and kinds. We are seeking to engage a diverse audience, not only space buffs. We particularly encourage institutions that engage communities that are underserved to participate. 


First image Community Events can take place between the day the images are released in July and October. The events can be in-person, virtual or hybrid.