If all goes well, there are likely to be exciting discoveries ahead. James Webb is almost like a time machine, says Pål Brekke of the Norwegian Space Center.
The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope is approaching.
The telescope is the largest and most powerful telescope ever launched into space, According to the ESA.
It’s many years late. Development Started in 1996 The telescope was actually going to take off in 2007.
There have also been slight delays recently. A few days ago, NASA confirmed that the telescope will be launched on Christmas Eve. Due to the unfavorable weather forecast, the date has now been moved to the first day of Christmas.
The time is set to 13:20 (7:20 AM EST) Saturday, According to NASA.
It remains to be seen if this date will hold.
Become ribs instead of a rocket
It was previously planned to launch on December 22nd. Pål Brekke, head of space research at the Norwegian Space Center, was invited to watch the rocket take off with his own eyes in French Guinea, NRK Books.
“I was actually supposed to sit on the plane to French Guiana and test this historic launch with other representatives from the European Space Agency,” Brik wrote in an email to forskning.no on Monday.
Unfortunately, the flight was canceled when the date was set for Christmas Eve. The ESA management thought it was best for people to be at home with their families on Christmas Eve.
– Then it would be my ribs, though I might have traveled if my turn had come. There will be a new Christmas Eve next year.
The launch can be watched live on NASA TV. Brikah will follow, of course.
An exciting month follows
The telescope has now been folded up and put into place in a European Space Agency (ESA) Ariane 5 rocket.
James Webb will be sent to a point far beyond the moon’s orbit, far beyond the Hubble telescope.
The launch is the least of my worries, said astronomer Hokun Dahle of the University of Oslo, because the rocket has been operating since the 1990s with very few accidents. to forskning.no in November.
– But I worry about what will happen next when the telescope is opened.
On its nearly month-long journey toward the destination, the telescope will be unlocked step by step. It will be 20 meters long and 14 meters wide with the sun shield fully opened.
If all goes well, astronomers can start using the telescope 180 days after launch.
Look in the infrared
While the Hubble Space Telescope looks primarily at wavelengths of visible light, James Webb has an improved infrared spectrum. Infrared light is also called thermal radiation.
The telescope is very sensitive. To give it a picture, it is said that the telescope should be able to observe thermal radiation from a bumblebee at the distance of the moon or detect a candle on one of Jupiter’s moons – about 800 million kilometers away. That’s what Pål Brekke says.
Back in time
The features make James Webb want to be able to look back in time.
The light from the first stars and galaxies that formed after the Big Bang no longer exists as visible light. Since the expansion of the universe, this light has expanded and is now visible only as infrared radiation, says Breck.
This means that James Webb will be able to give us more knowledge about what happened so early in the history of the universe.
The deeper we go into the universe, the more we see in the past. This is because light took billions of years to reach us. So, we see galaxies as they looked when the light was first emitted.
James Webb is almost like a counting time machine and will give scientists access to the entire history of the universe.
Cosmic maternity wings and signs of life
James Webb will search regions of galaxies hidden by dust at wavelengths of visible light. According to a previous one, infrared light is obstructed less by small dust particles Status on forskning.no.
“The advantage of infrared observation is that the light can penetrate interstellar nebulae and dust clouds where new stars are being born with associated planets,” Breck wrote in an email.
He explains that James Webb will be able to look at such nebulae and study the wings of cosmic motherhood.
The space telescope will also study exoplanets and planets outside our solar system.
James Webb will be able to give us better answers about whether any of the exoplanets we’ve discovered could be home to living creatures, says Breck.
– Using spectroscopy – analyzes of the light from a star that has passed through the atmosphere of plants – one can say something about what the atmosphere is made of.
In this way, scientists can find traces of possible biological activity or organisms that may be living on a distant planet.
– in other words – we can get one step closer to the question of whether we are alone in the universe, as Pal Brikki concludes.
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