The James Webb Space Telescope

If you’re like me, you’ve delighted in the array of beautiful images that have come from the Hubble Space Telescope. Yet more than just pretty pictures, Hubble has made some fascinating discoveries, contributing to astronomical knowledge better than earth based telescopes can (which constantly have to struggle with light pollution).

Following is a nice video from the Deep Astronomy Community summarizing the 25 years of Hubble service (as of 2015) to enhancing and expanding our views of the cosmos.

Now a successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), is in the works, and is set to launch in 2018. It will see farther than any space telescope built so far, perhaps even to mere cosmological moments after the Big Bang. Positioned at almost a million miles away (compared to Hubble’s 350 or so miles) it will be much farther from earth than the Hubble, and will be ‘stationed’ on a so-called Lagrange Point (L2), where, with just the right amount of solar and terrestrial gravity to pull it along, it should stay nicely synchronized with earth’s orbit and thus remain within its shadow, effectively blocking solar light. And as the Webb will be mainly an infrared satellite which needs to be shielded from solar heat to study other sources of stellar and cosmic heat from far away, L2 is a perfect location.

Pic from Amazing Space

Pic from Amazing Space

On the possible negative side, though, being so far away, hopefully, unlike the Hubble, the Webb will be error-free from the get-go.

Following is a Youtube video about the James Webb Space Telescope .

Hmm. Is that Neil deGrasse Tyson, friend of the late Carl Sagan, narrating?


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