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Tom's Astronomy Blog

Lights Out for JWST

21 Apr 2017, 04:23 UTC
Lights Out for JWST
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

It is lights out for the James Webb Space Telescope but in a good way.

I feel better about this than I did about the “shake-test“!
From NASA:
After completion of its vibration and acoustic testing in March, the James Webb Space Telescope – JWST – is shown here undergoing a detailed ‘lights out’ inspection in one of NASA’s cleanrooms at the Goddard Space Flight Center.
This is a special type of visual inspection to check for any forms of contamination. Both bright white LEDs and UV lights are used in order to better search for possible contamination, with the lights inside the cleanroom switched off to improve the contrast.
The low lighting means the image had to be taken with a longer than normal exposure time. This makes the technicians appear somewhat ghostly as they moved about the cleanroom during the exposure.
The image shows the segmented and gold-coated primary mirror of the telescope, which has a diameter of about 6.5 m when unfolded. It consists of 18 hexagonal segments, which will work together as one gigantic state-of-the-art mirror.
In order to fit inside the Ariane 5 rocket that will boost it into space, some segments will be folded, ...

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