The James Webb Space Telescope has “exceeded all expectations” as it enters the final stage of preparation, NASA revealed Tuesday, which expects to use this space observatory for science operations from mid-July.
Launched in December, James Webb has passed nearly every stage of calibration, Allowing you to take the “most accurate pictures” the telescope has ever producedhighlighted Michael McElwain, one of the scientists of the US space agency (NASA) responsible for the project, in statements to reporters.
James Webb is jointly operated by NASAEuropean Space Agency (ESA) and 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 Bangwhich will give an idea of the 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 pictures will be colorful, from then on The team will use a process to convert infrared data into colors visible to humanswhich makes 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 wait with the telescope, named after a former NASA commander, Get more data about the beginnings of the universeIncluding the birth of the first galaxies and stars.
James Webb It will capture the faint light of the most distant celestial bodies 13.5 billion years agowhen the universe was very young (the estimated age of the universe according to 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.
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