“I think the images from the James Webb Space Telescope will blow our minds”. So he has spoken Günther Hasinger, director of science for the European Space Agency (ESA), on the new mission together with NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). And is that the James Webb telescope is one of the great missions and the launch will be in the fall of this year.
As we said, the launch is very close. Although we will not know the exact takeoff date until a couple of weeks before, but there is already a fork for it: between the middle of October and the beginning of December. The launch of the James Webb space telescope will be from the Spaceport of Kurú, in French Guiana, and will go into space with the help of an Ariane 5 rocket.
Before we talk more about the James Webb, let’s focus on what is a space telescope. These types of telescopes are necessary because the atmosphere can interfere or distort the images that are taken. So they are opposed to ground-based telescopes that make their observations from the surface of our planet. In short, they are important to be able look at the sky more accurately than from Earth; especially in ultraviolet and infrared light.
This new telescope “has a large 6.5-meter segmented mirror that will collect almost six times more light than Hubble,” they indicate from ESA. Furthermore, “it has also been designed to work with infrared light“For its part, Hubble barely had a 2.4 meter mirror. Ultimately, as ESA says:” Webb is the longest and most powerful space telescope ever launched. “
On the other hand, both the telescope and the instruments have to be protected from the sun’s light and heat. This is why five layers will protect it and they will keep it “permanently in the shade, where it will cool down to -233ºC”, says the European agency. Although MIRI will reach -266ºC.
The James Webb Telescope will study both how the early universe, galaxies, black holes, stars, solar systems, exoplanets and their atmospheres have formed and evolved.
What will the James Webb telescope see? The study of the early universe is fascinating and can help us understand countless processes. One of the things this space telescope will do is observe it, which will also help us understand how it has evolved to this point. Also how black holes and galaxies form and evolve would be one of the phenomena that Webb will study. Stars, other solar systems, exoplanets and the characterization of their atmospheres They will also be under the surveillance of this telescope.
Differences from Hubble
Photo by NASA on Unsplash
The space telescope we’ve heard the most about is the Hubble. It is not the only one, but it has given us beautiful images and a lot of information about the universe. Now, the James Webb telescope will come to replace it. Although, as explained by Antonella Nota, a scientist associated with both projects by ESA, at the press conference on Tuesday, “Let’s hope Hubble and James Webb will work together for several years”. And there is a very important difference between the two telescopes.
“We will make discoveries amazing with the James Webb telescope “
The Hubble telescope did not use all infrared, so some information has been lost. But the new one will use “longer wavelengths” to observe with “100 times greater precision.” This novelty will allow researchers to “look beyond the dust” in certain areas of the universe. So we can “see the stars individually.” And, in addition, it is “a hundred times more sensitive” than its predecessor, as explained by Nota and Hasinger.
The instruments that will look at the universe will be the camera and the mid-infrared spectrograph. MIRI, the near-infrared spectrograph NIRSpec; near infrared camera NIRCam and the combined fine orientation sensor FGS-NIRISS and the slitless near infrared spectrograph. “We will make amazing discoveries with the James Webb telescope,” said Nota.
Hubble was sent into space in 1990 and since then he has been working to give us the information we have needed. Now, with the arrival of James Webb we will have even more accurate information about the universe and the evolution of this. In addition to other spectacular images, although they could take a long time to start reaching us. And we still have to wait for it to be launched and for everything to work correctly in space.