The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is named after the great James Edwin Webb. He was the second administrator of NASA. He led the Apollo mission, which was created to send humans to the Moon. So, of course, he deserved this honor.
JWST is often called the successor of the amazing Hubble Space Telescope — launched in 1990. It is the most expensive telescope ever built and is the most advanced one too. On December 25, 2021, JWST was launched into space through the Ariane 5 Rocket.
This telescope was built with the highest technology that exists today. NASA’s space observatory, hundreds of scientists, physicists, and other extraordinary people have put their brain, heart, and soul into it.
Not just NASA but the world has tremendous expectations from JWST.
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It is said that we will peep into the past through the telescope. Also, we could see from JWST’s eyes — colors, planets, comets, asteroids, phenomena, and many more things that we haven’t experienced yet.
It is a much larger telescope than the Hubble space telescope. Hence, it was folded a lot and is on its way to unfold and settle.
Because infrared light is radiated by hot objects, JWST has a huge sun shield. Its sun shield is about half as big as a 737 aircraft, and you can say that it is the size of a tennis court.
Where is the James Webb Space Telescope Presently?
The telescope has already been launched and has put its foot out of the Earth’s magnetic field. It’s in space– floating joyously. You, too, can be up to speed on its updates.
All you have to do is hit up NASA’s official website and check on the JWST section. This section provides various whereabouts like the distance, range completed so far, its current state, distance from Earth, and much more interesting information.
A Glimpse At The Metrics Of The James Webb Space Telescope
The James Webb Space Telescope is renowned as the heir of the Hubble Space Telescope. As of now, it is the largest space observatory that mankind has ever built. Its humongous sun shield base measures around 22m by 12m.
But to our surprise, though JWST is twice in size compared to Hubble, which was just 13m long, its weight is almost half of Hubble’s weight, 6500kg.
And also, it has a 21.3 feet mirror. Thus, the James Webb space telescope will roughly have a 15 times broader view than the Hubble space telescope.
7 Most Astonishing Facts About The James Webb Space Telescope
Going to make you feel nostalgic by recalling the evolution classes.
Through JWST, we are hoping to peep into the past and-*drum rolls*-the origin of the universe.
Astronomers are expecting to study the formation of galaxies too. This means we will finally know about our beloved, mysterious universe. It’s all possible only because of the James Webb Telescope.
The Alluring Golden Mirror of James Webb Space Telescope!
Remember the Hubble Space Telescope? Well, the James Webb Space Telescope is more compelling than that. Astronomers are waiting to take a never-before-seen kind of glance at our universe with this telescope.
It’s going to be far better than the existing records, they believe. So, to experience and watch the majesties of the universe, there is no need to travel to space.
The significant difference is that the James Webb Space Telescope has a mirror with a diameter of 21.3 feet, whereas Hubble’s mirror has only a 7.8 feet diameter.
Because of this whooping difference in their mirror size, where JWST’s mirror is approximately six times bigger than Hubble’s mirror, it’s able to capture more light and send more information.
A better perspective of the ‘After Big Bang’ phase!
The images that were taken using this telescope not only helped us understand the galactic system but also the collective histories that these celestial bodies held.
With the help of Hubble, we were able to take a glance at galaxies that developed after 400 million years from the big bang.
But using the James Webb Space telescope, the time could be further set back to about 250 million years. This makes it closer to the origin point where it all began.
And it’s not just about witnessing the galaxies, but this telescope also helps bring more details to the images. And these details include better structure, better view of the spiral arms, and it covers more light.
More Understanding about the ‘Fog’
Do you know that the cosmos had a dark age? Let me brief you about it and tell you what exactly it means.
According to some researchers, hypotheses, and theories, the universe was cloaked with primordial gas or a kind of nebula that made the cosmos nothing but a gigantic dark ball. There was no sense of light until the first starlight appeared in the cosmos.
That is why this period is referred to as the ‘Cosmic Dark Age’. Scientists majorly believe that the appearance of this starlight caused the lift of this cosmic fog.
So, with the James Webb Telescope, they hope to understand more about Mr. Fog.
Revealing more ancient galaxies
The pictures taken using the Hubble space telescope were mostly using ultraviolet light. Only Ultraviolet light is visible to the human eye, and thus, it is called visible light too.
But our new soldier- James Webb Space telescope- can observe in the infrared light range. It can take images in the infrared spectrum. So, it’s believed that the objects captured using this might reveal more details that will blow off our minds.
Astronomers are hoping to glance into the exceedingly old galaxies with these infrared images. By the ‘red shift’ process where the light is extended as it disappears and appears, leaving behind a red tail.
So, with the help of infrared, JWST will be able to trace exceedingly old galaxies that are presently being shoved further away from our planet Earth and turning redder.
Deploying itself into the abyss
Due to many setbacks related to engineering that were faced when building this humongous $10 billion worth James Webb Space Telescope, a decision was made by the scientists.
The best-case scenario would be to deploy the telescope in the rocket into space far away from our Earth.
The distance from our planet Earth is an important factor. This is because it is warm and emits warmth. Which rapidly gets picked up by the infrared cameras, and that’s something the astronomers want to avoid.
The monstrous distance from our planet
The Hubble Space Telescope was 547 kilometers away from our planet. But this baby (JWST) will be millions of kilometers away from Earth. With approximately 4 times the distance between the Moon and Earth.
The matter of concern here is that the scientists or engineers cannot service the James Webb Space telescope if something goes off-plan. With Hubble, when it had minor issues shortly after its launch, the engineers could handle it.
What Will The Telescope Do After Its Launch?
Let’s get to know each one step by step.
The satellite will start to strategically move its many components in the first month. At this stage, the instruments and the body of JWST will rapidly cool down. All thanks to the savior – Sunshield.
But it will take weeks for them to come back to normal temperature. The mirrors will have to be moved at this stage, and tests will be taken to check if they move correctly.
After this, the satellite will start to take its test for the next few months. It uses the Fine Guidance Sensor, which points the JWST at a brighter start because it shows that it could acquire and lock onto targets.
Now begins the longest process of aligning the telescope optics.
The next step is where calibrations will be made on all of the scientific instruments with different modes of operation. This is where analysis and observation will take place.
Meanwhile, it’ll track moving targets like asteroids, comets, moons, and planets in our solar system. From this stage, JWST will start its primary mission by conducting routine science missions and reporting information back.
What is James Webb Space Telescope’s Mission?
The James Webb space telescope is a product of international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
It has many missions. Let’s get to know each, one by one.
- It will examine the first light in the universe and celestial objects formed shortly after the Big Bang.
- The Investigation will take place on how galaxies form and evolve.
- The Atmosphere of distant exoplanets will be studied.
- It’ll capture the images of planets and our solar system like never before. Revealing a lot of details and new stuff.
- Dark matter will be analyzed thoroughly with strong evidence.
- The JWST is expected to operate for five years after its launch. However, NASA hopes the telescope will last for more than 10 years.
But unfortunately, the observation won’t be able to operate forever for obvious reasons. The JWST will need a small amount of finite fuel to maintain its orbit and instruments even though it is solar-powered.
We have many hopes tied to our beloved James Webb Space Telescope. It is going to reform the future of science. The catch is that – if something unfortunate happens to the JWST, then we will lose it. Forever.
If it is gone, then it’s gone. We are thinking positively and assuming the best will come and eternally change our frame of reference towards Interstellar. We call it the successor of the Hubble Space Telescope (which gave us so much data, images, etc.).
But this in no way means that Hubble is going to be discarded. Hubble is going to be there, floating nicely, close to us.
So, JWST will take us on a roller coaster ride of space, and we are excited as hell.