Engineers install the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) into the Webb Telescope's Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) in NASA Goddard Space Flight Center cleanroom. The delicate procedure took place on March 20, 2014 in preparation for the cryogenic test of a fully integrated ISIM structure that will occur this summer.
The Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) is Webb's primary imager that will cover the infrared wavelength range 0.6 to 5 microns. NIRCam will detect light from: the earliest stars and galaxies in the process of formation; the population of stars in nearby galaxies; as well as young stars in the Milky Way and Kuiper Belt objects. NIRCam is equipped with coronagraphs, instruments that allow astronomers to take pictures of very faint objects around a central bright object, like stellar systems. NIRCam's coronagraphs work by blocking a brighter object's light, making it possible to view the dimmer object nearby - just like shielding the sun from your eyes with an upraised hand can allow you to focus on the view in front of you. With the coronagraphs, astronomers hope to determine the characteristics of planets orbiting nearby stars.
The NIRCam instrument was built and designed by the University of Arizona and Lockheed Martin.