The US space agency showed the first-ever images from the James Webb telescope tonight, including a selfie and a failed photo of a star in Big Dipper. But don’t worry: that’s exactly according to plan.

James Webb photographed the star HD 84406. This is a sun-like star located 258 light-years from Earth. In the photo, the same star can be seen eighteen times. This is because the space telescope’s eighteen gold mirrors have not yet been properly adjusted.

In the coming month, the mirrors will be positioned correctly, so that the eighteen spots will overlap and together form one sharp image. This has to be done very precisely, because a deviation of more than 38 nanometers – one thousandth of the thickness of a human hair – can already cause problems. Suppose each mirror segment is the same size as the Netherlands, then there may be only a few millimeters of play. That’s how close it is. The James Webb team has written an interesting blog about how the telescope will be adjusted and calibrated in the coming weeks

On February 2, James Webb began creating the above mosaic. In total, the telescope was adjusted 156 times and 1,560 pictures were taken. That equates to 54 gigabytes of raw data. The final result can be seen above, but this is just a crop of a much larger photo. That larger photo contains no less than two billion pixels.

“The search for the star HD 84406 first began in an area the size of the full moon in the night sky,” explains Space Telescope Science Institute scientist Marshall Perrin. “Luckily we found the light from the eighteen different segments early in the center of the image. That is an excellent starting point for adjusting the mirrors.”

The second photo is a selfie from the telescope. Here you can clearly see the eighteen different mirror segments. One of the mirror segments stands out, because it is much brighter than the other segments. This is because this one segment is pointed at a bright star and the other mirrors are not.

“Of course the launch of the James Webb telescope was an exciting event, but for scientists and optical engineers this is the pinnacle,” said project scientist Michael McElwain. “The very first moment that light from a star hits a detector.”

It’s a surprise that NASA is already sharing the first images of James Webb. The space agency was planning to show the first pictures in May. From now on, the images will only get sharper. The first scientific photos are expected to be taken this summer. That will be nail biting, because then we will finally know whether the pricey space telescope is capable of unraveling many mysteries of the universe in the coming years.