James Webb: micrometeorite hits space telescope

  • Jonathan Amos
  • BBC Science Correspondent

Artist's rendering of the James Webb telescope

Credit, ESA

photo caption,

The James Webb telescope was hit five times, the last being the most significant

A small fragment of rock hit the main mirror of the new James Webb Space Telescope. The damage caused by the dust-grain-sized micrometeorite is having a noticeable effect on the instrument’s data, but scientists don’t expect it to limit the mission’s overall performance.

The James Webb launched in December 2021 to replace the revolutionary — but aging — Hubble Space Telescope.

Astronomers are expected to release the first images of the cosmos on July 12. The American space agency (NASA) said that these images will not be less impressive because of the incident.

The collision appears to have occurred, according to astronomers, sometime between the 23rd and 25th of May. Analysis indicates that the segment of the mirror known as C3 — one of 18 gold beryllium tiles that make up the telescope’s 6.5-meter-wide primary reflector — was impacted by this rocky microparticle.

About Raju Singh

Raju has an exquisite taste. For him, video games are more than entertainment and he likes to discuss forms and art.

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