NASA has achieved a major milestone in preparing the new James Webb Space Telescope, focusing the $10B observatory on a test star with all of Webb's mirrors aligned to tiny fractions the width of a human hair. But a lot of work lies ahead before the telescope is operational. The Webb telescope, billed as the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, was launched on the 25th of December. Its 6.5m-wide primary mirror, made of 18 segments, was folded to fit inside the rocket's nosecone. The focus now has been on unpacking it and getting the segments to work together. "The engineering images that we see today are as sharp and as crisp as the images that Hubble can take, but are at a wavelength of light that is totally invisible to Hubble," said Jane Rigby of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. "So this is making the invisible Universe snap into very, very sharp focus." The telescope is a joint endeavor of the US, European, and Canadian space agencies.

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