Breathe easy, fellow space nerds.
While we’ll likely never see it up close and personal ever again, a remotely-controlled telescope has provided us with one of the first images of the Webb in orbit — showing the JWST as a distant dot that’s virtually indistinguishable amongst the stars and galaxies in the image.
Check out the photo for yourself below:
The stunning image itself was captured by a 17-inch telescope dubbed "Elena." It’s managed by the Virtual Telescope Project 2.0, which provides astronomers access to two remotely-controlled robotic telescopes in Rome, Italy.
The photo was snapped just as the Webb arrived at its final destination at the Lagrange Point 2 (L2) — and if that’s not enough for you, they were able to cobble together a short video of it moving through the inky blackness of space.
— Tony Ho Tran (@TonyHoWasHere) January 26, 2022
NASA initially estimated that the Webb had enough fuel for a roughly 10 year mission. During that time, scientists hope that it’ll provide us with the most detailed — and hopefully revealing — images of deep space we’ve ever seen.
However, some experts believe it’ll be able to work for a lot longer than that.
"You’ve heard numbers around 20 years. We think that’s probably a good ballpark," Keith Parrish, the JWST observatory commissioning manager at NASA, said in a press teleconference attended by SpaceNews after the Webb reached L2 on Monday. "This is capping off just a remarkable 30 days."
So hopefully, we’ll have plenty more images of — and from — the Webb for a long time to come.
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