The countdown continues for the release of the first science images from the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for July 12. But before full science operations can begin, each of Webb’s four instruments must be calibrated and tested in its various modes to be sure. to collect data. This week, the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) completed its investigation and NASA announced that it is ready for science.
Unlike the other three Web devices, which operate in the near-infrared range, MIRI operates in the mid-infrared, which means it has some peculiarities. It was the last device to reach its operating temperature because its silicon detectors have to be so cold to work – at temperatures as low as 7 degrees Kelvin. To precisely control its temperature, MIRI equipment has both a heater and a cooler. MIRI reached its operating temperature in April of this year, and since then it has been through an extensive calibration process and engineers have confirmed its imaging, its low- and medium-resolution spectroscopy, and finally its coronagraphic imaging. Mods are ready to go.
“We are thrilled that MIRI is now a working, state-of-the-art instrument, with better-than-expected performance across all capabilities,” MIRI European Principal Investigator Gillian Wright and MIRI Science Chief George Rieke said in a statement. “Our multinational commissioning team has done a great job preparing MIRI in just a few weeks. Now we all celebrate as people, scientists, engineers, managers, national agencies, ESA [European Space Agency]And NASA, who have made this instrument a reality as MIRI, begins to explore the infrared universe even deeper in ways never before achieved. ,
You can track the progress of the four instruments getting ready for their Seventeen Mode on the James Webb Tracker on NASA’s website. Currently, sixteen modes are ready for science, with only the coronagraphy mode of the NIRCam instrument yet to be signed. Once that’s done, Webb will be ready to conduct science, looking at exoplanet atmospheres, finding some of the earliest galaxies in the universe, and more.