The much-anticipated James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be launched on December 18th, and the scientific community is excited about the mysteries of the universe it may discover.
This super space astronomical telescope is designed to explore the universe more deeply, and it will greatly improve mankind’s understanding and cognition of the earliest galaxies formed in the universe after the Big Bang.
The most optimistic expectation is that the Webb Space Telescope will be able to detect the light emitted by the first galaxies when the universe first formed 13.5 billion years ago.
Astrophysicist Dr Amber Nicole Straughn of Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center (Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center) is the vice president of the Webb telescope project. the scientist. She said: “The most exciting prospect of such a large-scale, whimsical and ambitious telescope is precisely the idea that there will be some questions that we have never thought of asking.”
“For me, the most exciting prospect of this telescope is that the knowledge of the universe that humans will understand will completely exceed our expectations.”
So, how exactly does the Webb Telescope explore space? When will we be able to see the earliest galaxies at the beginning of the universe through this super telescope?
Like opening origami
The webb telescope will use a telescope with a diameter of 6.5 meters, which will be the largest ever sent into space. In fact, because of its large diameter, it takes two weeks to open in space, just like restoring a completed origami step by step.
The Webb Space Telescope is a joint venture project of the United States, Europe and the Canadian aerospace sector at a total cost of US$10 billion. The European Aryan 5 rocket will be launched into space from French Guiana.
About 30 minutes after the rocket lifts off, the Webb Space Telescope will disengage from the rocket. For it to run smoothly according to the original plan, it must complete the pre-set actions in at least 344 critical moments.
To reach the preset observation point 1.5 million kilometers from the earth, the Webb telescope needs to travel in space for 30 days.
When will it be put into use?
According to Dr. Straun, it will take six months for the Webb telescope to be fully operational so that we can see the first batch of images taken by it.
“After we send the telescope to space, it must complete a complicated stretch and open procedure. Then it will take several months for the telescope to cool down, to adjust the mirrors, and then to turn on the instruments one by one.”
“So, we have to wait until the summer of 2022 in the northern hemisphere to receive the first batch of images.”
Follow in Hubble’s footsteps
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched in April 1990 and is a groundbreaking generation of space telescopes.
In the past 30 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has provided us with the most important images of the universe, such as the famous Pillar of Creations and the nearly ten thousand Hubble Ultra Deep Fields. Images of two galaxies.
These images have deepened our understanding of the changes in the universe since the Big Bang, and even changed the way we think about the universe.
The Webb telescope is designed to see deeper into the universe beyond Hubble.
Although Hubble is expected to continue working for another ten or twenty years, Weber, with more sophisticated equipment and advanced design, is considered to be the successor to the mission of exploring space in the future.
The main differences between Hubble and Weber:
- Hubble is designed to collect visible and ultraviolet light, with limited infrared light capabilities. Webb telescope collects infrared light (IR);
- The Hubble Telescope has a diameter of 2.4 meters and the Weber Telescope has a diameter of 6.5 meters. It has a larger focusing area, which means that Weber can see deeper, farther and earlier than Hubble;
- Hubble is orbiting very close to the earth, while Webber will be 1.5 million kilometers away. This is four times the distance between the earth and the moon.
Dr. Antonella Nota of the European Space Agency said: “Weber’s capabilities are based on Hubble’s 31-year glorious history.”
“Although Hubble is only a relatively small telescope with a primary mirror diameter of 2.4 meters, it has extended the view point of the observable universe to hundreds of millions of years before the Big Bang.”
“Weber’s sensitivity has increased by a factor of 100, and its viewpoint will be further forward in longitudinal depth, and it will be able to see the first galaxies after the Big Bang.”
What will the Webb telescope see?
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Weber’s longer wavelength will be able to get closer to the beginning of time and look for the first galaxies that have not been observed by humans.
The Webb telescope will also be able to observe the inside of dust clouds that are currently forming stars and planetary systems.
Dr. Straun said that scientists have formulated the first-year observation plan of the Webb Telescope, “not limited to the scope of astrophysics.”
She said: “The observation plan includes the planets in our solar system, as well as the search for the first galaxies born 13.5 billion years ago, everything from the beginning to the present in time and space.”
Looking for life
Because Weber can penetrate and see molecules in the planet’s atmosphere, it can also help us search for signs of life on other planets.
Dr. Straun said: “Of course we cannot guarantee that we will find signs of life. But we can say without exaggeration that the Webb Telescope is definitely a huge step in our search for habitable planets in the Milky Way.”
She said: “This telescope is of great significance, especially in expanding our understanding of the universe and strengthening our connection with other things around us.”
“When we look up at the stars, when we look up at the night sky, we can feel this connection. We are not a trivial, small being alone.”
“In fact, we humans were born from the remnants of the explosion of a planet billions of years ago.”
“We are inextricably linked to the universe. I think it is extremely important to take a step back and look at life from a larger perspective, whenever and wherever it is.”