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James Webb telescope

Date: 03 December 2021 Tags: Space

Issue

The launch date of James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has been changed from December 18 to December 22 by NASA.

 

Background

The postponing was required after the agency felt that some additional changes and tests were required prior to launch.

 

Details

The telescope will play the role of NASA’s “premier observatory” for the next decade. The telescope is a joint collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency.

 

Functions

  • The infra-red telescope will be used to study various phases of universe, starting from Big Bang, the formation of life supporting solar systems and the evolution of our own Solar System.

  • JWST will complement the discoveries of Hubble Telescope. Its ability to observe longer wavelengths allows it to study first galaxies that formed in the early Universe.

 

Process of commissioning

The process involves unfolding its mirrors, sunshield, and other smaller systems; cooling down; aligning; and calibrating.

 

Launching

The JWST will be launched from French Guiana on board an Ariane 5 ECA rocket. The rocket system is being contributed by the European Space Agency (ESA).

 

Main goals

  • Search for the first galaxies that formed after the Big Bang

  • Observe the formation of stars from the first stages to the formation of planetary systems

  • Measure the physical and chemical properties of planetary systems

  • Investigate the potential for life in such systems.

  • To determine how galaxies evolved from their earlier formation until now

 

Instruments

  • Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam)

  • The Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec)

  • The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI)

  • The Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) with the Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS)

 

Controversy

Several scientists had petitioned to change the name of the telescope. They allege that James Webb had fired several LGBTQ employees during his tenure.