On 25th December 2021, our generation witnessed a historical moment that could re-write the universe’s history. Over thirty years of hardship and billion of dollars spent, NASA launched the James Webb Space Telescope. The 10-billion dollar observatory can look deep into the early days of the universe. Webb’s Telescope is the world’s largest most powerful Telescope. Marcia Rieke is one of the leading astronomers from the University of Arizona to work on one of the main instruments of the Telescope.
It was thirty years ago when the inception of the James Webb Space Telescope first took place in collaboration with the European Space Agency, NASA, and the Canadian Space Agency. The tennis court-sized telescope, measuring approximately 21 feet across, is known to be 100 times stronger than the Hubble. Nevertheless, the James Webb Space Telescope has the foundation of the Hubble Space Telescope.
What Can The James Webb Space Telescope Do?
The world’s most powerful and largest Telescope is known to have infrared “eyes” that pierce through cosmic gas and dust. As we know, light takes time to travel through space; therefore, the light that reaches the Webb telescope will be from a billion years ago. This phenomenon makes the telescope work as a time machine. By gaining insight into the creation of the universe, the Webb telescope aims to help us understand the earliest stars and galaxies.
Making Of The James Webb Space Telescope
The world’s most powerful and largest Telescope launched into orbit. Astronomer Rieke has dedicated 20 years of her life to developing and designing the infrared camera called NIRcam. The questions about the Big Bang, black holes, galaxies, and planets will finally have some answers thanks to the impressive Webb’s mirror.
If designing the world’s largest and most powerful Telescope wasn’t enough, creating Webb’s mirror was another mountain to climb. The mirror seamlessly folds and then unfolds once launched into orbit. Each hexagonal segment aligns with precision to function as a single mirror and is 18 gold-coated.
How Does The James Webb Space Telescope Function?
The world’s most powerful and largest Telescope launched in orbit will spend one month reaching a destination in orbit around the sun. This destination is precisely known as the second Lagrange, or L2 point. Once the Telescope is stable, it will permanently be one-sided, facing the sun and Earth.
Once launched in orbit, a giant sun shield reveals itself to protect and cool the telescopes’ instruments and mirrors. The sun shield allows the Telescope to pick up subtle heat signals without disturbance. The exceptional infrared devices of the James Webb Space Telescope can detect the earliest stars of the universe, obstructed otherwise.
The James Webb Space Telescope’s senior project scientist John Mather says, “We will see things that we’ve never known were there, and we’ll see things we’ve known about differently and better.”
He hopes to inspire curiosity among the young generation to continue the journey into the universe.