James Webb Space Telescope practices tracking an asteroid for the 1st time

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James Webb Space Telescope practices tracking an asteroid for the 1st time

By Elizabeth Howell published about 14 hours ago

The exercise will help the telescope keep an eye on objects in our solar system.

The James Webb Space Telescope will observe targets near and far after its commissioning period.

The James Webb Space Telescope will observe targets near and far after its commissioning period. (Image credit: ESA/ATG medialab)

NASA’s next-generation space observatory successfully watched a moving asteroid as the telescope inches towards the end of its six-month commissioning period.

The successful tracking of a nearby object shows that the James Webb Space Telescope can keep a watch on solar system objects as well as the distant galaxies, stars and other faraway objects it is expected to observe in its perhaps 20-year lifespan.

“As we move forward through commissioning, we will test other objects moving at various speeds to verify we can study objects with Webb that move throughout the solar system,” NASA wrote(opens in new tab) in a blog post May 19, adding that the observatory is “nearly set” to start science observations.

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Webb’s ability to see nearby targets will allow it to obse

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