The NIRISS instrument, which was never discovered by James Webb, has been knocked offline

The NIRISS instrument, which was never discovered by James Webb, has been knocked offline ...

The James Webb Space Telescope's artistry. Credit: NASA GSFC/CIL/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez

The Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) of the James Webb Space Telescope was experiencing a communications interruption while it was being used for science observations. While NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) work together to resolve the root cause, the instrument is currently unavailable for science observations.

Honeywell International designed and built the Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) in collaboration with a team at the Université de Montréal. Additional technical assistance was provided by the National Research Council of Canada's Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre.

Components of the NIRISS Cameras capture two-dimensional views of space areas. Spectrographs scatter light out into a spectrum so that the brightness of each individual wavelength can be measured. Webb's aperture mask is a metal plate with seven hexagonal holes that is placed in front of the detectors to increase the accuracy of the telescope's measurements.

NIRISS Wavelength Range NIRISS is designed to capture light that is between 0.6 microns (visible red) and 5 microns (mid-infrared).

The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51)'s Field of View (NIRISS) The object being observed has a field of view of roughly 2.2 2.2 arcminutes.

Standard Imaging is an acronym for basic digital photography that involves photographing a wide variety of objects and materials in space that emit or reflect infrared light. Aperture Mask Interferometry (AMI) is a technique that allows a telescope to combine to achieve a more detailed image. AMI is used to separate light from bright objects that are close together in space or on the sky.

Wide-Field Slitless Spectroscopy is a technique used by NIRISS to capture the whole spectrum of a large field of view, such as a field of stars, a nearby galaxy, or many galaxies at the same time. Single-Object Slitless Spectroscopy is a method used to capture the entire spectrum of a single bright object, like a star, in a field of view.

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