NASA has announced that the James Webb Space Telescope has cooled to temperature and is ready for further manipulation.
More precisely, of course, it is not the temperature of the entire telescope, but Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). It was cooled to a temperature of -266 degrees, which is only a few degrees above absolute zero.
To achieve such a low temperature, the telescope used an electrically-driven cryocooler to reduce vibrations. Three other observatory instruments also required cooling. The cooling itself was necessary to keep the telescope from blinding itself, since it operates in the infrared range.
Now that the instruments have cooled to operating temperature, scientists will take test images of stars and other known objects that can be used to calibrate and test the instrument. The team will make this preparation along with calibrating the other three instruments, providing the first scientific images as early as this summer.