NIRISS, one of Webb's primary instruments is now fully ready to see the universe
The Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph instrument (NIRISS), one of the four major scientific instruments aboard
The James Webb Space Telescope, has finished its post-launch preparations and is now ready to view the universe.
Each of Webb's four instruments is meant to investigate a diverse array of cosmic objects and phenomena, such as planets, stars, galaxies, gas clouds, debris discs, black holes, and dark matter.
NIRISS will give imaging and spectroscopy capabilities in the near-infrared spectrum.
As the sole instrument capable of aperture mask interferometry, it can capture photographs of bright objects with a higher resolution than other imagers.
Single Object Slitless Spectroscopy (SOSS) was the final mode of NIRISS to be validated before the instrument was deemed fit for scientific operations.
With SOSS mode, the NIRISS instrument will be able to use transit spectroscopy to study the atmospheres of exoplanets - planets outside our solar system - as they pass in front of their star.
NASA states that the heart of the SOSS mode is a customised prism assembly that disperses the light of a cosmic source into three separate spectra (rainbows),
Exposing the hues of more than 2,000 infrared colours recorded simultaneously in a single observation.
Below is an image of the test detector from the NIRISS instrument in SOSS mode while pointed at a bright star.
Each colour in this image corresponds to an infrared wavelength between 0.6 and 2.8 microns.
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