The Secret of Universe is ready to unfold itself
The USA's space agency NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has once again done something spectacular. NASA has launched the perfect successor James Webb telescope, which is said to be a ‘time machine’ that can be the mirror into the past. NASA was collecting information by its Hubble’s telescope but it was shut down a few months ago after a life span of nearly 30 years.
The James Webb telescope has been launched with the motive to unravel the truth of the beginning of the universe.
Who has launched this telescope?
NASA had given the target of launching such a huge telescope to the French company ‘Arian Space’. Its rocket Ariane 5 ECA (VA256) launched the telescope from French Guiana, which is situated on the north-eastern coast of South America on 25th December 2021. French Guiana is a French Territory which is near the equator, so it is quite appropriate for launches. The project has also been funded by Canada along with the UK, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and many more. Its total cost is 10 billion USD or 75 thousand crores INR.
How does this new telescope look like?
This masterpiece of science and engineering has a 6.5 meters’ mirror which is made up of 18 hexagonal parts each coated with a very thin layer of Gold. It will help it to detect light from a very far source. It has a large sun shield which is made up of 5 very thin layers to protect it from the heat and light of the sun.
The telescope was folded and fit inside in a rocket and after the launch; it will take its actual shape and size in space. Scientists say that there were 300 ways in which it could go wrong or unfold incorrectly, so scientists have rehearsed it multiple times to gain precision at every step.
The James Webb telescope will have a life span of 10 years. Its mirror size is 6.5 meter and the mass is 6200 kg. Its operating temperature is almost -230?C.
How does the ‘James Webb Telescope’ work?
It can work in the infrared spectrum. Infrared radiation can penetrate through dust. Space between objects in the universe expands and so does light. As the light from the stars and galaxies travels in our direction, its waves lengthen and the light becomes infrared. This process is also known as red shift.
Due to the telescope's structure of hexagonal segments, it can not only fold and unfold easily, but can also detect the light more accurately and extensively. It can take the image up to one to one ten thousandth of the thickness of a human hair. After detecting a ray of light, it can study the whole thing about that ray.
The telescope contains a gold coated plate because Gold reflects 99% of countered infrared light as compared to any other metal.
Is it the successor of the Hubble’s Telescope?
The Hubble telescope has observed the near ultraviolet, visible and near infrared spectra. But the new telescope will observe in a lower frequency range, from visible light to mid-infrared which will allow it to observe high redshift objects that were too old and too distant for Hubble to observe.
The JWT has taken 30 years to develop and thousands of scientists have contributed to make something magnificent. It is said to be 100 times more powerful because of the reason that it can take clearer images in difficult situations. It is said to have the ability to detect a ray which originated even 13.5 billion years ago, it means that we can look back into time which passed 13.5 billion years ago. We might be able to see the formation of the earliest galaxy. It will be able to answer the questions about how our planetary system has evolved and can also answer the question if life can be possible in other places of the universe. It will be studying cosmic history.
Why has it been named as ‘James Webb Telescope’?
James Webb was a prominent scientist of NASA, who headed NASA as administrator from February 14, 1961 to October 7, 1968. He has been associated with NASA since a very long time and he has also played a critical role in major missions of NASA including the mission which landed man on moon for the first time. He has given an edge to the USA over the world in the space programme. So, the telescope got its name from him.
Are there other telescopes too in the universe?
Hermann Oberth, one of the harbingers of modern rocket science, had written a book – ‘Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen’ (The rocket into planetary Space), which states that - by placing a telescope in the universe, we can see beyond the rays that block our vision. There are many telescopes in the universe depending on different rays. Orbiting Astronomical Observatory 2 (OAO-2) or Stargazer was the first successful telescope which was launched in December 1968.
Where is India in this race?
India has also launched the Astrosat – India’s first dedicated multi-wavelength space telescope which was launched by PSLV-XL on September 28th, 2015. It mainly focuses on the black hole. Now India will be launching Astrosat-2 very soon for further studies.