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James Webb Space Telescope: Launch Delayed

James Webb Space Telescope:

The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, which astronomers hope will herald a new era of discovery, has been delayed until December 22 after an accident at its launch facility in French Guiana.

  • The space telescope was originally supposed to launch on December 18.
  • 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.

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