About 1 million miles away from the nearest eye surgeon, NASA’s Webb will be able to perfect its own vision while in orbit.

Though the Webb telescope will focus on stars and galaxies approximately 13.5 billion light-years away, its goes through a similar process as you would if you underwent vision correction surgery to be able to focus on an object 10 feet across the room. In orbit at Earth’s second Lagrange point (L2), far from the help of a terrestrial doctor, Webb will use its near-infrared camera (NIRCam) instrument to help align its primary mirror segments about 40 days after launch, once they have unfolded from their unaligned stowed position and cooled to their operating temperatures.

Laser vision correction surgery reshapes the cornea of the eye to remove imperfections that cause vision problems like nearsightedness. The cornea is the surface of the eye; it helps focus rays of light on the retina at the back of the eye, and though it appears to be uniform and smooth, it can be misshapen and pockmarked with dents, dimples, and other imperfections that can affect a person’s sight. The relative positioning of Webb’s primary mirror segments after launch will be the equivalent of these corneal imperfections, and engineers on Earth will need to make corrections to the mirrors’ positions to bring them into alignment, ensuring they will produce sharp, images.

Read more: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/james-webb-space-telescope-s-laser-focused-sight

Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center:
Eric Villard (InuTec, LLC): Writer
Michael McClare (KBRwyle): Producer
Michael P. Menzel (AIMM): Producer
Michael P. Menzel (AIMM): Video Editor

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