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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 16 July, 2022

  • 5 Min Read

JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE

JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has delivered the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe so far.

Webb’s First Deep Field of view is galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 and it is teeming with thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared.

About James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

About:

  • It is the world's premier space science observatory.
  • It will solve the mysteries in our solar system and look beyond distant worlds around other stars, and will also probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.
  • It is an international program led by NASA with its partners, European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency.
  • The telescope launched on an Ariane 5 from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.

Mission:

  • It will be “a giant leap forward in the quest to understand the Universe and our origins”, as it will examine every phase of cosmic history, from the Big Bang to the formation of galaxies, stars, and the planets to the evolution of our Solar System.

Current status

  • It is currently at a point in space known as the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point which is approximately 1.5 million km beyond Earth’s orbit around the Sun.
  • Lagrange Point 2 is one of the five points in the orbital plane of the Earth-Sun system.
  • Named after Italian-French mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange, the points are in any revolving two-body system like Earth and Sun, marking where the gravitational forces of the two large bodies cancel each other out.
  • Objects placed at these positions are relatively stable and also require minimal external energy or fuel to keep themselves there, and so many instruments are positioned here.???????

How it is different from Hubble Space Telescopes?

  • The JWST will be able to see right through and into massive clouds of dust that are opaque to earlier generation visible-light observatories like the Hubble Telescope.
  • The Webb is equipped with cameras and other instruments which are sensitive to infrared or “heat” radiation, which the Hubble telescope was not.
  • Webb studies the universe in the infrared with wavelength coverage from 0.6 to 28 microns (the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum is from about 0.75 microns to a few hundred microns) while Hubble looked at it mainly at optical and ultraviolet wavelengths with coverage of 0.1 to 0.8 microns.
  • Webb’s mirror is approximately 6.5 meters larger than Hubble’s mirror which was 2.4 meters and therefore looks farther back into time than Hubble’s space telescope. Webb will cover approximately 15 times the field of view covered by Hubble’s NICMOS camera.
  • Hubble Telescope orbits the Earth at an altitude of approx. 570 km. Webb will not orbit the Earth, instead, it will sit at the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point, 1.5 million km away. This means that Webb will orbit the Sun along with the Earth, but will stay fixed at the same spot in relation to the Earth and the Sun.

(At the L2 point, Webb’s solar shield will block the light from the Sun, Earth, and Moon, which will help it stay cool — important for an infrared telescope.)

Source: The Hindu


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