The image reflects the observatory’s distinctive hexagonal mirror.
The James Webb Space Telescope finished the first major stage in its long process of aligning the observatory’s 18-segmented primary mirror.
A single star that the observatory looked at was deliberately rendered 18 times into a hexagonal shape. Eventually, those 18 images will perfectly align into a single, sharp focus, but the interim result portrays a star repeated perfectly in a hexagonal pattern reminiscent of a stunning celestial snowflake.
“The resulting image shows that the team has moved each of Webb’s 18 primary mirror segments to bring 18 unfocused copies of a single star into a planned hexagonal formation,” NASA officials wrote in a blog post Friday (Feb. 18).