Effect of JWST mirror damage on final images

In summary, the conversation discusses the impact of a meteoroid on one of the mirror segments of the James Webb Space Telescope and how it will affect the images produced by the telescope. Some people believe that the damage will only be visible in one part of the image, but the speaker argues that it will cause small artifacts across the entire image. They also question if Webb works differently than a regular single mirror/lens telescope. The response clarifies that Webb is one telescope forming one image, not multiple images like a mosaic, so the damage will not be visible as a black spot in one corner, but rather as a slight blur spread across the whole image.
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As most of us know, James Webb Space Telescope suffered a damage to one of its mirror segments due to meteoroid impact. How will that damage show in the images?

Some people on certain forum I visit say that there will be some artifacts visible in only one part of the image, but that doesn't make sense to me. What I expect are some very small artifacts (is aberration the right word?) across entire image. My reasoning is, if you mask or remove part of the mirror on Newtonian telescope, you won't be missing one part of the image in the ocular. The image will bi darker and smaller resolution, but it will be the entire image.

Am I wrong about this? Is JWST working differently than regular single mirror/lens telescope? I don't have a very good knowledge of optics.
 
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You are correct - Webb is one telescope forming one image, not eighteen forming a mosaic. A qualitative way to look at it is that Webb is not looking at its own mirror, so the mirror and any damage are out of focus (as far out of focus as it's possible to be) and the effect is a slight blur spread across the whole image rather than a comedy black spot in one corner.

If engineers were still doing the mirror pre-alignment work where they showed eighteen images of one star then only one of them would show aberration. Perhaps that's what your friends are thinking of - but that is not Webb's operating mode.
 
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Related to Effect of JWST mirror damage on final images

1. What is the JWST mirror damage and how does it affect final images?

The JWST mirror damage refers to any imperfections or defects on the mirrors of the James Webb Space Telescope. These defects can cause distortions or aberrations in the final images produced by the telescope, affecting the overall image quality.

2. How does the JWST team ensure the mirrors are free from damage?

The JWST team uses a variety of techniques and tests to ensure that the mirrors are free from damage. These include visual inspections, interferometry measurements, and cryogenic testing at extremely low temperatures to simulate the conditions in space.

3. Can the JWST mirror damage be repaired?

No, the JWST mirror damage cannot be repaired once the telescope is in orbit. The mirrors are made of beryllium, which is a highly delicate material and cannot be easily repaired or replaced in space.

4. How will the JWST team mitigate the effects of mirror damage on final images?

The JWST team has developed sophisticated image processing algorithms and techniques to correct for any distortions or aberrations caused by mirror damage. These techniques will be continuously refined and updated throughout the mission to ensure the best possible image quality.

5. Will the JWST mirror damage significantly impact the scientific capabilities of the telescope?

While the mirror damage may affect the overall image quality, the JWST team has designed the telescope to have a large enough aperture and advanced image correction capabilities to still achieve its scientific goals. The telescope will still be able to produce groundbreaking images and data, even with some level of mirror damage.

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