Star twinkles 18 times in new James Webb Space Telescope image

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).


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