A giant telescope will be launched into space this week and it will be the biggest telescope ever to orbit around the sun about 1 million miles from our planet. This telescope will capture the farthest depths of the universe and will unfold in front of us secrets about the origins of the universe from 13.5 billion years ago.
Nicholas Suntzeff, was involved with space research for 30 years and he helped co-discover dark energy form Chile where he spent 20 years, said that NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency together is going to launch the James Webb Space Telescope from French Guiana on Dec. 24 and this telescope is going to answer some of space’s biggest mysteries. The telescope has been named after a former NASA administrator.
The new telescope is 100 times more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope. This telescope was launched in 1990 and provided us with amazing images when orbiting about 340 miles above the Earth.
After 30 years in development and with a $9.7 billion price tag, the James Webb Telescope has a mirror system. This mirror system is made of 18 hexagonal mirrors tiled together to form a reflecting surface which is as big as a tennis court. Astronomers will be able to examine light from the time when the universe originated. A time the researchers call “cosmic dawn.”
The new telescope will orbit around the Sun. When it will orbit around the Sun, its temperature on its cold side will be minus-388 degrees and on its hot side, its temperature will be 180 degrees. These positions are called the second Lagrange point or L2 which means its position in relation to the Earth.
Scientists said that L2 is not always stable and the telescope will orbit around this mathematical point.
Scientists also want JWST to orbit like this so its heat shields are always illuminated by the sun, moon and Earth. With the shield, the telescope will be always protected from light of Sun, moon and Earth. These three objects need to be on the other side of the shield and the temperature on the hot side of the shield will remain the same.