What is the James Webb Space Telescope and What Will It Show Us?

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope was launched on December 25, 2021 to observe the oldest stars and give us an idea about the past of the universe. The telescope is known as Webb or JWST and is considered as a successor to Hubble which has gained some age but has been remaining as famous as before. Following Hubble, James Webb is the biggest and the most powerful space telescope that has ever been launched into the space.

14 March 2022 ・ Author: Speaker Agency

The telescope was launched from French Guiana with an Ariane 5 rocket and will be the leading observatory of the coming decade. Webb telescope was a project run by NASA and 15 other countries as well as The European and Canadian Space Agencies. With its improved artificial intelligence, Webb will be in service of thousands of astronomers. It has taken 30 years to build the telescope which now will look into concepts like the first bright lights after the Big Bang or the formation of other solar systems. Every single move of the telescope can be followed through social media channels.

Exploring the Universe through Infrared Radiation

Webb is equipped with the technology to look into the space time which has never been seen before and can generate and send information about the first stars and galaxies dating back to 13,5 billion years. The telescope Works on the “close infared astronomy” principle as the universe expands continuously. The fact that objects-with-lights emit ultraviolet lights and the visible lights turn to red make the secondary part of this principle. The main three reasons for this are as follows:

  • Visible emissions of red-like objects can be turned into infrared.
  • Cold objects like planets and wreck discs emit infrared lights.
  • This emitted infraded light cannot be observed from earth or nearby telescopes. Webb telescope however, can detect these changes and record them so that it can send them directly to the scientists by using artificial neurons.

Webb is actually quite a special messenger designed to transmit infrared lights with immense resolution and high sensitivity. It is a powerful tool to observe close-by universes, which can also explore the origins of the stars and find out about their evolution. Thanks to Webb telescope, far-planets around other stars can be compared with stars. That way the evolution of Milkyway will be studied. Webb can also explore the habitable areas of stars and the amount of liquid or water contained in planets. Webb can analyse the chemical structure of the planets using transmission spectroscopy which means observing the light coming from the atmosphere of the planets.

How will James Webb Space Telescope do all these?

The telescope contains 18 seperate mirror/lens segments which open up and adapt the environment. These mirrors are made of ultra light berilium, the size of a tennis court each. The heat coming from the sun is reduced by 1 million times protecting the equipment from the sun light with a five layer protection gear. Webb can receive even the faintest signals with the help of the cameras and spectrometers. NIRSpec, with its micro shutters capable of observing 100 seperate objects at the same time is a powerful tool. Webb started its six-month service at a distance which is 1 million miles away from Earth. Webb telescope cannot directly see the “dark matter” which consists of galactical masses, but it has the technology that can measure the impacts of it. Gravitational core effect is what Webb uses. According to the Relativity Theory of Einstein, light will deviate when passing by large masses. These deviations (curves) can be detected by the telescope allowing it to photograph everything including the space islands. Astronomers then will have the possibility of comparing data. All the data collected will eventually be used to understand the nature of the dark matters in the galaxy.

Webb Specs

Building Webb took an incredibly long time. A design with this nature does not allow maintenance by travelling to the equipment. Here are the specifications of the telescope:

  • Primary lens dimensions: Radius 21.3 ft (6,5 meters)
  • Lens form: The lenses consist of 18 hexagons made of gold with moving capability of opening and closing.
  • Sun Protection: Five-layered sun protection panels are the size of a tennis court.
  • Webb has 4 scientific tools: Near-range infrared camera (NIRCam), Near-range Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec), Medium-range Infrared Device (MIRI), Near-range Infrared camera with sensors (FGS) and near-range spectrograph (NIRISS)
  • Wave lengths: Visible, near-range infrared, medium-range infrared (0,6-28.5 micrometers)
  • Travel distance: 1 million miles from Earth. (1,5 million km)
  • Location in space: Second Lagrange point on the orbit of the Sun, (L2). Webb will not stay on this orbit all the time making moves depending on the axis and the movements of the Earth.

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