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James Webb Space Telescope


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Think it deserves a separate topic... 

James Webb Space Telescope will be the largest and most powerful space science telescope ever constructed. Remember the Hubble Space Telescope? Well, JWST is designed to observe a part of space and time never seen before, the epoch when the very first stars and galaxies formed over 13.5 billion years ago. In order to do this, Webb will have a much larger primary mirror (6.5m diameter) than Hubble, giving it more light-gathering power. It also will have infrared instruments with longer wavelength coverage and greatly improved sensitivity than Hubble. Finally, Webb will operate much farther from Earth, maintaining its extremely cold operating temperature, stable pointing and higher observing efficiency than with the Earth-orbiting Hubble.

The Webb mission, an international partnership of NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency, will explore every phase of cosmic history – from within the solar system to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe, and everything in between. 

JWST will also be a powerful tool for studying the nearby universe. Scientists will use it to study planets and other bodies in our solar system to determine their origin and evolution and compare them with exoplanets, planets that orbit other stars. It will also observe exoplanets located in their stars’ habitable zones, the regions where a planet could harbor liquid water on its surface, and can determine if and where signatures of habitability may be present. Using a technique called transmission spectroscopy, the observatory will examine starlight filtered through planetary atmospheres to learn about their chemical compositions.

JWST is targeted to launch at 12:20 p.m. GMT Friday, Dec. 24, on an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on the northeastern coast of South America. Weather-related delays are possible, a new update should be released on December 21st.

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1 minute ago, DeadLinesman said:

So this L2 point. Is this for keeping it out of direct sunlight but still orbiting behind the earth?

Yes - L2 is a location where gravitational forces of Sun and Earth combined balance out the centrifugal force, so any object in that position will orbit the Sun together with the Earth (so it stays stationary from Earth's point of view, with Earth blocking most of the sunlight). It's not stable like some other Lagrangian points, so small corrections are required every 26 days or so.

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A $10bn 'glittering space jewel' begins its mission

VIDEO

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A $10bn glittering space jewel recedes into the distance.

This is the moment the James Webb telescope came off the top of its rocket to begin its mission to image the first stars to shine in the cosmos.

The video was transmitted in near real-time last Saturday, but the feed to Earth was very glitchy and broken up.

The European Space Agency (Esa) has since had the sequence cleaned up and set to music by the UK artist Charlotte Hatherley.

It's the last view we'll ever get of the telescope scientists believe will go on to make transformative discoveries about the early Universe, and about planets circling far-off stars.

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James Webb Space Telescope: Everything is 'hunky dory'

So far, so good. The US space agency says the post-launch set-up of the new James Webb telescope have gone very well.

"As smoothly as we could have hoped for."

Engineering teams are in the middle of unpacking the observatory from its folded launch configuration to the layout needed for operations.

This involves the deployment of several structures, the most critical of which are Webb's mirrors and sun shield.

Monday saw the start of what is probably the most complex set of activities - the separation and tensioning of the five individual layers that make up the shield.

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James Webb Latest

 

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James Webb Space Telescope nails secondary mirror deployment

"We actually have a telescope."

The James Webb Space Telescope achieved another major milestone today, successfully extending its secondary mirror as it continues to sail seamlessly through its never-before-conducted deployment sequence on the way to its destination.

The 2.4-foot-wide (0.74 meters) secondary mirror sits attached to a tripod opposite the main mirror. Its task is to concentrate the light collected by the gold-coated main mirror into an opening at the main mirror's center. Through this opening, the light reaches the third mirror, which reflects it to the telescope's instruments

The secondary mirror travelled to space stowed on top of the main mirror, attached to three 26-feet-long (8 m) legs that form its supporting tripod.

 

 

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WEBB MIRROR DEPLOYMENT WEBCAST UPDATE

This is an update to note that NASA's webcast of the James Webb Space Telescope's mirror deployment will actually occur on Saturday, Jan. 8, at a time still to be determined based on NASA's latest live broadcast schedule

Webb's flight controllers plan to deploy the the telescope's aft radiator as soon as today before proceeding with the port and starboard mirror deployments on Friday and Saturday. Sorry for any confusion, space fans! -- Tariq Malik

https://www.space.com/news/live/james-webb-space-telescope-updates

 

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15:10:30 - January 11, 2022

WEBB KEEPS TREKKING OUT TO SPACEA diagram depicting JWST's orbit around L2 in comparison to Earth, the moon and the sun.

A diagram depicting JWST's orbit around L2 in comparison to Earth, the moon and the sun. (Image credit: NASA)

NASA has again delayed beginning work on aligning the individual mirror segments of the James Webb Space Telescope, according to an agency timeline, with that project now scheduled to begin Wednesday (Jan. 12). The process will take several days and moves the 18 individual hexagons of the golden primary mirror out of their launch configuration.

In the meantime, Webb continues its long journey out to Earth-sun Lagrange point 2, or L2. The observatory is currently 80% of the way to L2 and has traveled nearly 725,000 miles (1.16 million kilometers) away from Earth. To follow Webb's journey, consult NASA's tracking website for the observatory, which also tracks the deployment process.
https://www.space.com/news/live/james-webb-space-telescope-updates

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With the James Webb Space Telescope now at its final destination, scientists can let out a deep sigh of relief. After just over a month in space (and decades in development), Webb is now at its observing site. 

"We're a month in, and the baby hasn't even opened its eyes yet. But that's the science that we're looking forward to," Jane Rigby, Webb operations project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said during a media teleconference on Monday.

You can read Rigby's reaction and those of her Webb telescope colleagues in this update from today's teleconference by contributing writer Elizabeth Howell. 

Space.com Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd has this account of Webb's arrival at L2 with comments from NASA chief Bill Nelson and others.

https://www.space.com/news/live/james-webb-space-telescope-updates

 

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MEET WEBB'S 1ST TARGET STAR: HD 84406download.png

Scientists with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope have picked the first star they will aim at with the new observatory and it's in a very familiar place. 

The star, called HD 84406, is located in the constellation Ursa Major, the Big Bear, which is home to a star pattern you may know better as the Big Dipper. 

Webb scientists will use the star to focus each of the 18 mirror segments of Webb's primary mirror. HD 84406 is a sun-light star about 260 light-years from Earth, and may need binoculars to see clearly. 

Here's our full story on HD 84406, the first target of the James Webb Space Telecope.

Also this week, Bill Ochs, NASA's Webb telescope project manager, thanked the mission team for its amazing work and dedication to get the observatory to its L2 observing spot. Ochs quoted Jimmy Buffett as he hailed the team, changing some key lyrics. 

Check it out! 

https://www.space.com/news/live/james-webb-space-telescope-updates

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Paint it black: behind the James Webb Space Telescope's signature color

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope has to stay super cool to observe the cosmos. How does it beat the heat? Black paint. 

As the agency explained in its new YouTube series "Elements of Webb," the James Webb Space Telescope's radiator is painted black to absorb heat. Just like how black asphalt gets hot in the summertime, objects that are black are generally hotter as they absorb all wavelengths of light and convert it into heat. (Comparatively, white objects reflect light and do not absorb heat.)
Webb engineers use this principle to keep the telescope cool. 

Related: The James Webb Space Telescope explained in pictures
Live updates: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope mission

 

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18:07:11 - February 11, 2022

WEBB MISSION TEAM ECSTATIC OVER FIRST IMAGES

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Today (Feb. 11), NASA revealed that the James Webb Space Telescope has captured its first images of starlight.

And, while the mission team is still cautiously looking ahead as there is much work to be done before the scope is fully operational and ready to begin science observations, they are ecstatic. 

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"After all these years, to actually see data when we're in zero gravity in space, it is emotional," Lee Feinberg, the Webb optical telescope element manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, told Space.com today during a news conference

However, "We still are being a little cautious, because we still have things that we have to get through ... but I will definitely say when I went home Saturday night, two days later [after the image was taken], I know my wife said to me it was the first time she'd seen me smile since December," he added.

Read more about the team's excited response and Webb's thrilling milestone here.

https://www.space.com/news/live/james-webb-space-telescope-updates

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Webb’s Fine Guidance Sensor Is Guiding!

After starting the mirror alignment with Webb’s first detection of starlight in the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), the telescope team is hard at work on the next steps for commissioning the telescope. To make more progress, the team needs to use another instrument, the Fine Guidance Sensor, to lock onto a guide star and keep the telescope pointed to high accuracy. We have asked René Doyon and Nathalie Ouellette of the Université de Montréal to explain how Webb uses its Canadian instrument in this process.

“After being powered on Jan. 28, 2022, and undergoing successful aliveness and functional tests, Webb’s Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS) has now successfully performed its very first guiding operation! Together with the Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS), the FGS is one of Canada’s contributions to the mission.

“To ensure Webb stays locked on its celestial targets, the FGS measures the exact position of a guide star in its field of view 16 times per second and sends adjustments to the telescope’s fine steering mirror about three times per second. In addition to its speed, the FGS also needs to be incredibly precise. The degree of precision with which it can detect changes in the pointing to a celestial object is the equivalent of a person in New York City being able to see the eye motion of someone blinking at the Canadian border 500 kilometers (311 miles) away!

“Webb’s 18 primary mirror segments are not yet aligned, so each star appears as 18 duplicate images. On Feb. 13, FGS successfully locked onto and tracked one of these star images for the first time. The FGS team was thrilled to see this ‘closed loop guiding’ working! From now on, most of the alignment process of the telescope mirrors will take place with FGS guiding, while NIRCam images provide the diagnostic information for mirror adjustments.”https://blogs.nasa.gov/webb/2022/02/17/webbs-fine-guidance-sensor-is-guiding/

 

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