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Webb telescope role in unlocking secrets of universe

Date: 27 December 2021 Tags: Space

Issue

 NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will soon be launched from French Guiana, making it one of the most anticipated events in recent times.

 

Background

The James Webb telescope opens the potential for many scientific discoveries in future. It is said to be the successor to Hubble telescope.

 

Details

  • The telescope will be lunched on board the European Ariane 5 rocket. It is said to be an engineering marvel, similar to Event Horizon Telescope that captured Black hole.

  • The telescope is expected to unveil many secrets of the universe, especially those related to the formation of stars and galaxies in the early period.

 

The ability of JWT

  • Space-based telescopes are called time machines as they are able to look at objects far away in space. This is because light captured by these telescope have originated millions of years ago.

  • The images of galaxies and stars captured by the telescopes are those that existed millions of years ago. The farther the object, older the image.

  • The retiring Hubble telescope has been able to see deeper into the universe than any other instrument.

  • In comparison, the JWT is more powerful and will be able to look much deeper into the universe, and see through obstructions such as gas clouds. It looks into infrared spectrum.

 

Location

  • The JWT will be placed at a point known as L2 or Lagrange’s Point 2. At this spot, the telescope will be relatively stable and require minimal external energy.

  • The L2 is a position exactly behind Earth in the line joining the Sun and the Earth. It will be shielded from Sun by the earth and will move along with it.

 

Functions

It will contain an infrared camera that will take images of astronomical objects, while spectrometers would distribute the incoming infrared light into different colours for analysis.

 

Lagrange’s points

It is one of the five points in any revolving two-body system like Earth and Sun, where the gravitational forces of the two large bodies cancel each other out.