This Christmas, NASA surely brings an extraordinarily amazing gift for all the astronomers and skywatchers out there, as on December 25 at 07:20 am EST, (5.50 pm IST), the space agency’s largest and most powerful space science telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, will launch from French Guiana.
According to the information given by NASA on the James Webb Space Telescope, it carries four main scientific instruments. It will also “hunt for the unobserved formation of the first galaxies, as well as to look inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today,” according to NASA.
The liftoff, which was firstly scheduled for December 22 was postponed to December 24 because of the difficulties faced in electronic communications between the launch vehicle and its payload. Then the lift off was further delayed until Christmas Day due to poor weather conditions at the launch site.
It can be said that the anticipation is high, but so too is the level of anxiety.
In order to get to space, Webb must first survive a 27-minute ascent on what is, in effect, a controlled explosion. Then the telescope has to unfold itself in a series of complex deployments. All of them must be completed flawlessly or the observatory as a whole won’t work.
US space agency administrator Bill Nelson, said “Webb is an extraordinary mission.”
He further said, “It’s a shining example of what we can accomplish when we dream big. We’ve always known that this project would be a risky endeavour. But, of course, when you want a big reward, you usually have to take a big risk.”
This amazing telescope will help answer our questions about the First light, Assembly of galaxies, Birth of stars and protoplanetary systems and Planetary systems, and the origin of life.
Here’s how to watch the James Webb Space Telescope launch:
You can watch the lift-off online on NASA TV, by signing up at NASA to become a Webb Launch virtual guest and thus, able to access curated resources. The space agency will also mail virtual guests a stamp for their virtual guest passports. The Indian Express will also do the live-blogging of the event at indianexpress.com.
Lets know more about the James Webb Space Telescope by comparing the Webb and Hubble:
The James Webb telescope is named after one of the architects of the Apollo Moon programme. The space agencies of the US, Europe and Canada, who are the partners on the project, stated it as a science flagship of no less importance.
Webb’s important mission is to build on the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope, which is nearing the end of operations after 31 years in orbit.
Webb will take a deeper look into the cosmos and, as a consequence, much further back in time. At the core of the new facility’s capabilities, it has a 6.5m-wide golden mirror.
This results in a remarkable reflecting surface that is allied to four super-sensitive instruments. As a result, this should enable Webb to detect the light from the pioneer stars, as these objects are known to have ignited more than 13.5 billion years ago.
“They will be just little red specks,” said John Mather, Nasa senior project scientist and Nobel Prize winner.
According to the reports of BBC News, he said, “We think there should be stars, or galaxies, or black holes maybe beginning at 100 million years after the Big Bang. There won’t be many of them to find at that time but the Webb telescope can see them if they’re there, and we’re lucky,” he told BBC News.