June 7, 2023
The James Webb Telescope exceeded expectations before it began operation

The James Webb Telescope exceeded expectations before it began operation

TheMichael McElwain, a NASA scientist in charge of the project, said in remarks to reporters.

James Webb is jointly operated by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

Michael McElwain explained that there are still a number of processes the team must go through before using the telescope to take scientifically useful images, such as activating the different measurement modes it will use.

The images that were already produced were taken with the intention of calibrating the instruments and they present a significant difference in sharpness compared to those of Spitzer, the infrared telescope that will be replaced.

Thanks to its great sensitivity, James Webb will be able to observe the light of galaxies only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, which will give an idea of ​​\u200b\u200bthe composition of our universe.

“It will change how we view our local world,” said Christopher Evans, the ESA scientist in charge of the project.

In mid-July, James Webb is expected to take a series of images of physical objects to demonstrate his science-mediating capabilities, as the telescope has so far only targeted groups of stars in well-studied locations such as the Large Cloud. Magalhães to test the calibration of his instruments.

The images will be in color, as the team will use a process to convert infrared data into colors visible to humans, making the images comparable to those of the famous Hubble telescope.

This space observatory, valued at about US$10,000 million (about €8,800 million) was launched on December 25, and the gold-plated mirror is the largest ever launched into space.

The new telescope, whose development began more than 30 years ago, has been successively delayed, year after year, by launching into space.

Engineers from ISQ – Instituto de Sodadura e Qualidade are involved in the safety of the launches, and Portuguese astronomer Catarina Alves de Oliveira, who works at the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Science Operations Center in Spain, is responsible for the calibration of a of Webb’s instruments.

Astronomers using the telescope, named after a former NASA commander, hope to obtain more data about the early days of the universe, including the births of galaxies and the first stars.

James Webb will make it possible to capture the faint light of distant celestial bodies, 13.5 billion years ago, when the universe was very young (the estimated age of the universe by the Big Bang theory is 13.8 billion years).

The new telescope, described as Hubble’s successor, is in a 31-year orbit, 570 kilometers from Earth.

Given how far away from Earth it would be, Webb cannot be fixed in orbit, unlike Hubble, so its “life expectancy” is short, five to ten years.

Read also: Have you ever wondered how it would feel to hear a black hole? NASA has a video for you

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