A peek at the far, far away! | From 0 to Telescope Technology at the Best |

by Sep 26, 2022Knowledge0 comments

Technology and it’s (s)pace!

Ever since our primal ancestors converted a rolling wooden log to a wheel for transportation, progress of technology to Telescope never slowed down in any era. It’s a common belief that war acts as the greatest catalyst for technological revolution, but in reality its survival instinct that induces the race for innovation.

In urban mythologies, an abyss is considered to be a limitless rift, blacker than darkness and deeper than hell. On a more scientific note, we humans call our very own abyss by the term “outer space”. Observation is a quality that is mandatory for every successful rendezvous, and observing this space is what is considered a successful innovation. Don’t worry fellas, unlike the infamous double slit experiment, we won’t experience an anomaly because of measurements, or maybe we want to.

Budget, fame and origins of its name!

Recently, the Astro occupation bigshot NASA launched a very anticipated mission, the James Webb Space Telescope. It was constructed and launched with the cooperation of Canadian Space Agency and ESA. It is a space telescope designed primarily to conduct infrared astronomy. As the largest optical telescope in space, its high infrared resolution and sensitivity allow it to view objects too early, distant, or faint for the Hubble Space Telescope.

The JWST was launched on 25 December 2021 on an Ariane 5 rocket from KourouFrench Guiana, and arrived at the Sun–Earth L2 Lagrange point in January 2022. NASA’s lifetime cost for this project is expected to be US$9.7 billion, of which US$8.8 billion was spent on spacecraft design and development and US$861 million is planned to support five years of mission operations. 

Representatives from ESA and CSA stated their project contributions amount to approximately €700 million and CA$200 million, respectively. The major companies that participated in its manufacturing were Northrop Grumman and Ball Aerospace. The telescope is named after James E. Webb, who was the administrator of NASA from 1961 to 1968 during the MercuryGemini, and Apollo programs.

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The description of a Crush( vs an Ex)!

JWST’s primary mirror consists of 18 hexagonal mirror segments made of gold-plated beryllium, which combined create a 6.5-meter-diameter (21 ft) mirror, compared with Hubble’s 2.4 m (7 ft 10 in). This gives JWST a light-collecting area of about 25 square meters, about six times that of Hubble. 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. Unlike Hubble, which observes in the near ultraviolet and visible (0.1 to 0.8 μm), and near infrared (0.8–2.5 μm) spectra, JWST observes in a lower frequency range, from long-wavelength visible light (red) through mid-infrared (0.6–28.3 μm).

It can detect objects up to 100 times fainter than Hubble can, and objects much earlier in the history of the universe, back to redshift z≈20 (about 180 million years cosmic time after the Big Bang). For comparison, the earliest stars are thought to have formed between z≈30 and z≈20 (100–180 million years cosmic time), and the first galaxies may have formed around redshift z≈15 (about 270 million years cosmic time). Hubble is unable to see further back than very early reionization at about z≈11.1 (galaxy GN-z11, 400 million years cosmic time).

In addition, it can observe opportunistic and unplanned targets within 48 hours of a decision to do so, such as supernovae and gamma ray bursts. The five-layer sunshield, each layer as thin as a human hair, is made of Kapton E film, coated with aluminium on both sides and a layer of doped silicon on the Sun-facing side of the two hottest layers to reflect the Sun’s heat back into space. Combined with its wide shadow-avoiding orbit, the telescope can simultaneously block incoming heat and light from all three of these bodies and avoid even the smallest changes of temperature from Earth and Moon shadows that would affect the structure, yet still maintain uninterrupted solar power and Earth communications on its sun-facing side.

This arrangement keeps the temperature of the spacecraft constant and below the 50 K (−223 °C; −370 °F) necessary for faint infrared observations. The Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) is a framework that provides electrical power, computing resources, cooling capability as well as structural stability to the Webb telescope. It is made with bonded graphite-epoxy composite attached to the underside of Webb’s telescope structure.

The motto of our big umbrella soldier!

The James Webb Space Telescope has four key goals:

  1. to search for light from the first stars and galaxies that formed in the universe after the Big Bang
  2. to study galaxy formation and evolution
  3. to understand star formation and planet formation
  4. to study planetary systems and the origins of life

JWST may be used to gather information on the dimming light of star KIC 8462852, which was discovered in 2015, and has some abnormal light-curve properties.

Additionally, it will be able to tell if an exoplanet has methane in its atmosphere, allowing astronomers to determine whether or not the methane is a biosignature.

How much has been the first salary!

The first full-colour images and spectroscopic data were released on 12 July 2022, which also marked the official beginning of Webb’s general science operations; President Joe Biden revealed the first image, Webb’s First Deep Field, on 11 July 2022. On 14 July 2022, NASA presented images of Jupiter and related areas captured, for the first time, and including infrared views, by the James Webb Space Telescope. On 24 August 2022, astronomers published the first detailed scientific result for the telescope on the detection of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of the gas giant exoplanet WASP-39b from transmission spectroscopy observations obtained with JWST as part of the Early Release Science program (ERS). It was the first confirmed detection of carbon dioxide on a planet outside the Solar System.

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