Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New video brings Webb Telescope's third mirror to light

Date:
February 1, 2013
Source:
NASA
Summary:
There are four types of mirrors that will fly on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. They're called the "primary, secondary, tertiary" and fine steering mirrors. Although the 18 primary mirror segments make the biggest splash, the other mirrors are equally as important. A new video takes viewers behind the scenes for a special look at the tertiary mirror.

Webb's coated flight tertiary mirror. Dan Patriarca, president of Quantum Coating Incorporated, is in the photo.
Credit: Ben Gallagher (Ball Aerospace) and Quantum Coating Incorporated

There are four types of mirrors that will fly on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope. They're called the "primary, secondary, tertiary" and fine steering mirrors. Although the 18 primary mirror segments make the biggest splash, the other mirrors are equally as important. A new video takes viewers behind the scenes for a special look at the tertiary mirror.

Related Articles


The video called, "Third Light's the Charm" is part of an on-going video series about the Webb telescope called "Behind the Webb" (http://webbtelescope.org/webb_telescope/behind_the_webb/17). The video, produced by Mary Estacion from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md., takes viewers behind the scenes with scientists and engineers who are creating the Webb telescope's components.

The 2 minute, 41 second video takes viewers to Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colo., where Koby Smith, Aft Optics Subsystem Integrated Product Team lead, explains how light is manipulated with the Webb mirrors to get a clearer understanding of the object being focused upon.

There are 18 hexagonal mirror segments that, when combined, make up the large primary mirror with a collecting area of 25 meters squared (269.1 square feet).The secondary mirror is perfectly rounded and convex, so the reflective surface bulges toward the light source. The tertiary mirror is the third stop for light coming into the telescope and is the only fixed mirror in the system -- all of the other mirrors align to it.

"The tertiary mirror is approximately a meter wide and is designed to accept the light from many field points and relay them through the fine steering mirror to the instruments," said Lee Feinberg, NASA Optical Telescope Element Manager for the Webb telescope at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Smith explained, "The light from an object reflects off the primary mirror, the secondary mirror, into the Aft Optics Subsystem's aperture, and off the tertiary and fine steering mirrors, before entering the science instruments in the back of the telescope." The Aft Optics Subsystem sits in the middle of all of those mirrors.

All the mirrors are made of a light metal called beryllium which is very strong for its weight and holds its shape across a range of temperatures.

Estacion also takes viewers into the optical test tent within a clean room for a look at the tertiary mirror. She and Smith explain the process it still needs to go through to be ready for flight on the Webb telescope.

The optical test tent is used for testing the secondary and tertiary mirrors. Smith shows viewers an interferometer that's used to measure the surface quality of the optics. It sends out a wavefront of light and compares it to a known reference, and any deviations on that surface will appear as fringes on a camera screen.

Estacion explains that there are more steps in the preparation of the tertiary mirror including vibration and thermal testing before being integrated with the rest of the telescope.

The James Webb Space Telescope will be the world's next-generation space observatory and successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. As the most powerful space telescope ever built, Webb will observe the most distant objects in the universe, provide images of the first galaxies ever formed and see unexplored planets around distant stars. The Webb telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.

The "Behind the Webb" video series is available in HQ, large and small Quicktime formats, HD, Large and Small WMV formats, and HD, Large and Small Xvid formats.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA. "New video brings Webb Telescope's third mirror to light." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130201092514.htm>.
NASA. (2013, February 1). New video brings Webb Telescope's third mirror to light. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130201092514.htm
NASA. "New video brings Webb Telescope's third mirror to light." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130201092514.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA Holds Memorial to Remember Astronauts

NASA Holds Memorial to Remember Astronauts

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) NASA is remembering 17 astronauts who were killed in the line of duty and dozens more who have died since the agency&apos;s beginning. A remembrance ceremony was held Thursday at NASA&apos;s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Asteroid's Moon Spotted During Earth Flyby

Rumble (Jan. 27, 2015) Scientists working with NASA&apos;s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California discovered an unexpected moon while observing asteroid 2004 BL86 during its recent flyby past Earth. Credit to &apos;NASA JPL&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 11-Year Anniversary

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Eleven years ago NASA&apos;s Opportunity rover touched down on Mars for what was only supposed to be a 90-day mission. Since then it has traveled 25.9 miles (41.7 kilometers), further than any other off-Earth surface vehicle has ever driven. Credit to &apos;NASA&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins