The telescope james webb NASA, designed to give the world an unprecedented view of the early universe, is approaching its final destination 1.6 million kilometers from Earth. At 2:00 p.m. on the US East Coast, and 8:00 p.m. in Madrid, the telescope will perform a trajectory correction maneuver to position itself at the second Lagrange point or L2, in a stable orbit between the Earth and the Sun.
Mission engineers at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore will activate the thrusters of the james webb for the artifact to be successfully inserted into orbit, according to Eric Smith, a NASA scientist. The predecessor of webb, the space telescope Hubble, orbits 547 kilometers from Earth.
The operations center has also started adjusting the telescope’s main mirror, made up of 18 segments of gold-coated beryllium and measuring 6.5 meters in diameter, almost three times larger than that of Hubble. Its size and design allow it to operate mainly in the infrared spectrum, so the webb you will be able to look beyond clouds of gas and dust and observe objects farther away than ever before. The expectation is that the new telescope will be a revolution in astronomy and provide a first look at galaxies born only 100 million years after the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago. instruments of webb they also make it ideal for finding signs of life on exoplanets, analyzing celestial bodies orbiting distant stars, and observing worlds closer to Earth, such as Mars or Saturn’s icy moon Titan.
There are still a few months to prepare for the scientific debut of the webb. The 18 segments of its main mirror, which were folded together to fit inside the rocket that carried the telescope into space, were deployed along with their structural components over a two-week period after launch on December 25. The components need to be aligned to get the right focus, a process that will take about three months. As this progresses, engineers will begin turning on the observatory’s mid-infrared spectrograph, camera and other instruments. This will be followed by two months in which these instruments will be calibrated, Smith has detailed.
If all goes as planned, the telescope james webb it will be ready in summer, when it will send images to show that everything works properly. But Smith said the most anticipated jobs from webb they will take more time. The telescope is an international project led by NASA in collaboration with the European Space Agency and its Canadian counterpart.
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