NASA’s largest optical telescope has started sending images back from space providing greatly improved infrared resolution and sensitivity when compared to the Hubble Space Telescope. The new James Webb Space Telescope was launched in December 2021 on an Ariane 5 rocket and the first images have been released this week by NASA providing a glimpse at what the telescope is capable of.
James Webb Space Telescope
The telescope has only been in position for a week and features a primary mirror consisting of 18 hexagonal mirror segments made of gold-plated beryllium which combined create a 6.5-meter (21 ft) diameter mirror. When compared to Hubble’s 2.4 m (7.9 ft) mirror the light collecting area of the James Webb Space Telescope is about six times the size measuring roughly 25 square meters.
“The dawn of a new era in astronomy has begun as the world gets its first look at the full capabilities of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, a partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency). The telescope’s first full-color images and spectroscopic data were released during a televised broadcast at 10:30 a.m. EDT (14:30 UTC) on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. These listed targets below represent the first wave of full-color scientific images and spectra the observatory has gathered, and the official beginning of Webb’s general science operations. They were selected by an international committee of representatives from NASA, ESA, CSA, and the Space Telescope Science Institute.”
“Unlike Hubble, which observes in the near ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared (0.1–1.7 μm) spectra, JWST will observe in a lower frequency range, from long-wavelength visible light (red) through mid-infrared (0.6–28.3 μm). The telescope must be kept extremely cold, below 50 K (−223 °C; −370 °F), such that the infrared light emitted by the telescope itself does not interfere with collected light. It is deployed in a solar orbit near the Sun–Earth L2 Lagrange point, about 1.5 million kilometers (930,000 mi) from Earth, where its five-layer sunshield protects it from warming by the Sun, Earth, and Moon.”
“The James Webb Space Telescope has a mass that is about half of Hubble Space Telescope’s mass. The JWST has a 6.5-meter (21 ft)-diameter gold-coated beryllium primary mirror made up of 18 separate hexagonal mirrors. The mirror has a polished area of 26.3 m2 (283 sq ft), of which 0.9 m2 (9.7 sq ft) is obscured by the secondary support struts, giving a total collecting area of 25.4 m2 (273 sq ft). This is over six times larger than the collecting area of Hubble’s 2.4-meter (7.9 ft) diameter mirror, which has a collecting area of 4.0 m2 (43 sq ft). The mirror has a gold coating to provide infrared reflectivity and this is covered by a thin layer of glass for durability.”
For more images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope jump over to the official NASA website by following the link below.
Source : NASA
James Webb Space Telescope images 3 | James Webb Space Telescope images
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