James Webb Space Telescope:
NASA has announced the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) on December 24.
- Webb, the world’s premier space science observatory, will succeed the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA’s flagship telescope that has been in service for more than three decades now.
- JWST is a joint venture between the US (Nasa), European (Esa) and Canadian space agencies (CSA).
- It is an orbiting infrared observatory that will complement and extend the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope, with longer wavelength coverage and greatly improved sensitivity.
- Webb was formerly known as the “Next Generation Space Telescope” (NGST) and it was renamed in 2002 after a former NASA administrator, James Webb.
- It will be a large infrared telescope with an approximately 6.5 meter primary mirror.
Objectives and functions of the telescope:
- It will look deeper into the cosmos – and thus further back in time – than is possible with Hubble.
- It will do this with a much bigger mirror (6.5m in diameter versus 2.4m) and instruments that are tuned to the infrared.
- Scientists hope this set-up can detect the light from the very first population of stars in the Universe to switch on more than 13.5 billion years ago.