Project officials said in a teleconference on Monday that all four science instruments have achieved perfect alignment in advance of the telescope's official debut this summer.
The telescope alignment has been completed with better performance than anticipated, according to the scientist who worked on the project. Material improvements to our science performance are not possible because there is no adjustment to the telescope optics.
NASA shared a picture taken by the Mid-Infrared Instrument, or MIRI, to show how ready the telescope is. The new image shows a side-by-side comparison of the observations of a nearby galaxy taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and the observations of the same galaxy taken previously by NASA.
The telescope blasts off into space.
While the image of the Large Magellanic Cloud shows a blur of seven or so nearby stars, the image of the same region shows the foreground stars in sharp detail, offset by clouds of interstellar gas and hundreds of background stars.
NASA said that the telescope waits for a final instrument calibration before it begins studying distant stars. In July, the telescope will share its first suite of science images, targeting galaxies and objects that highlight all the Webb sciences themes from the early universe to the life cycle of stars.
The $10 billion telescope was launched by NASA in December of 2021. The telescope has 18 hexagonal mirror segments fitted together into one large mirror. The Hubble Space Telescope has one primary mirror that is 7.8 feet across, but the design of the telescope allowed it to be folded inside a rocket at launch.
Scientists think that the Hubble Space Telescope will be able to see objects up to 100 times faint. The telescope was designed to look at the dim light of the earliest stars in the universe.
It was originally published on Live Science.