Everything you need to know about “James Webb”, NASA’s largest telescope ever

On December 25th, the world is watching release The $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope aboard a giant European rocket from the Kourou space base in French Guiana. Half an hour after launch, the telescope unfolded its folded solar panels, generating the electrical power needed to make communications.

6 crucial months

Whatsapp Charter For the NASA website, the James Webb Space Telescope is the fruit of a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and it is the culmination of the efforts of thousands of engineers, hundreds of scientists, 300 universities, institutions and companies from 29 US states. and 14 countries around the world. The James Webb Observatory is expected to lead the world into a new era of space exploration.

But the next six months, according to The NASA website will be critical to the success of this mission. Soon after launch, the telescope will simplify the gold-plated mirrors, a sun shield about the size of a tennis court, and other small systems that have been folded so that engineers can fit them into the rocket.

Then the telescope will settle at the second Lagrange point (L2), which is a hypothetical point at an altitude of 1.5 million kilometers from the Earth in the opposite direction to the sun, and then it will begin to cool the devices until they work with the required efficiency.

Cameras in a telescope require a cool environment to capture flashes from distant galaxies and other cosmic objects at infrared wavelengths.

That is why the “telescope” was equipped with cooling equipment and a sun shield to cool the part facing the sun to a temperature of minus 230 degrees Celsius. The devices that detect near-infrared radiation operate at a temperature of minus 234.

Scientists will not catch their breath and be sure of the success of the mission until after the observatory – perhaps in the summer of 2022 – sends the first images that will allow astronomers to probe the depths of the universe.

James Webb is a complement to the Hubble telescope

Andmentioned NASA said that the James Webb Telescope was designed as a successor and complement to the Hubble telescope. But “Webb” will monitor the universe in wavelengths of infrared radiation, as the “James Webb” telescope includes 4 specialized scientific devices that cover wavelengths in the range between 0.6 microns and 28 microns.

The infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum ranges from 0.75 microns to a few hundred microns. In other words, these devices operate in the infrared wavelength range and the visible spectral range.

While the “Hubble” devices focus on the wavelength of ultraviolet radiation: from 0.1 microns to 0.8 microns.

By observing infrared radiation, scientists will be able to penetrate the dust and see the processes that led to the formation of stars and planets. Most of the radiation that is emitted by objects with a temperature similar to the temperature of the Earth, is in the range of wavelengths of mid-infrared.

While the main mirror of the James Webb telescope has a diameter of 6.5 meters, the diameter of the Hubble mirror is 2.4 meters, and this allows the Webb Observatory to collect images from an area that is 6.25 times larger than the Hubble telescope.

The James Webb telescope is also distinguished from Hubble in that Hubble orbits the Earth at an altitude of 570 km, while James Webb will settle at the second Lagrangian point L2, which is 1.5 million km from Earth.

At this point, the shield will protect the telescope from light from the Sun, Earth and Moon, so it stays cool.

Although the “James Webb” telescope revolves with the Earth around the sun, it will remain fixed at the same point relative to the Earth and the sun.

Mirrors and sun shield folded so engineers could get James Webb into the rocket (NASA)

Explore the origin of the universe

The James Webb telescope will monitor a part of space that scientists have not seen before. The farther into space, the more ancient objects in the universe could be seen. If we assume that the Hubble telescope can observe young galaxies, the Webb telescope will see the fledgling galaxies, because it uses infrared radiation.

According to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, the expansion of the universe is accompanied by the expansion of space between objects, and this leads to the distance of celestial bodies from each other. When light is stretched in space, it turns to the longer wavelength, such as red.

That is why the infrared telescope – such as “James Webb” – is ideal for observing distant objects that can be seen in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, that is, in the range of wavelengths of light perceived by the human eye.

Thanks to the revolutionary technology that was employed in its manufacture, the James Webb Telescope will allow astronomers to study every phase of the history of the universe, from within our solar system to the most distant galaxies at the dawn of the history of the universe, and may provide answers to a range of scientific questions that have long puzzled scientists to help us in Understand the origins of the universe.

Scientists pin their hopes on the James Webb telescope to search for the light emitted by the first stars and galaxies that were formed more than 13.5 billion years ago. These luminous objects reach Earth in the form of infrared rays. The James Webb Telescope is designed to see infrared radiation with unprecedented accuracy.

Scientists will use the Webb telescope to study the planets and other bodies in our solar system, to identify their origins and origins and compare them with planets orbiting other stars outside our solar system, and to search for habitable areas on the back of other planets in our galaxy, that is, planets that harbor any form of life. .

The Herschel Observatory studies the universe at infrared wavelengths from the second Lagrangian point (European Space Agency)

What is the difference between James Webb and Herschel Observatory?

The James Webb Telescope is distinguished from the observatory Herschel The spacecraft launched by the European Space Agency in 2009 at the second “Lagrangian point”, within the wavelengths of light that it can see.

The wavelength range of the James Webb Telescope extends from 0.6 microns to 28.5 microns, while the wavelength range of the Herschel Space Observatory extends from 60 to 500 microns.

And “Herschel” was designed to detect galaxies that are more capable of forming stars, because they emit most of the energy in the form of infrared radiation. Whereas, “Webb” is designed to search for the first galaxies that formed at the dawn of the universe, whose detection requires ultra-sensitive devices for far infrared rays.

Scientists hope to obtain all this information during the lifetime of the (European) telescope.

When does the telescope’s mission end?

Scientists hope to get all this information during the life of the telescope, as mentioned NASA said that the life of the telescope will not be less than 5.5 years from the date of launch, with the hope that it will extend its life span to more than 10 years. The life of the telescope depends on the amount of fuel it uses to keep it in orbit, and the efficiency of the equipment and instruments on board the spacecraft.

The James Webb Space Observatory has provided enough fuel for 10 years, after which – if everything goes as planned – the telescope will run out of fuel, and then gradually move away from its path, becoming one of the waste that floats in space.

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