James Webb Telescope: Unlocking a New Chapter in Cosmic History

The launch of the James Webb Telescope will be a historic moment akin to the first steps on the moon.

Ariane 5 Rocket Carrying the James Webb Telescope
credit: Nasa/ AP

The telescope will take off at 5:50 PM IST today from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou. You can watch the launch live on NASA live and NASA’s Youtube channel.

Named after one of the most influential personalities at NASA, James Edwin Webb, the James Webb Telescope is the fruit of 30 years of labor led by NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). 

It is an engineering marvel as it is 100 times more sensitive than the Hubble telescope, enabling it to peer much farther into the Universe than ever before. 

While the Hubble Telescope only works in the visible and ultraviolet range, hindering its vision beyond a certain point, the James Webb telescope will primarily operate in the infrared spectrum.

As infrared radiation can easily pass through clouds of gas and dust, it is the optimal choice for observation of Black Holes and the birth of stars, which are shrouded in debris and dust clouds.

The Golden Wings of JWST
credit: NASA

The characteristic 6.5m-wide golden mirror, attached to highly-sensitive equipment, will capture light from the very first stars that formed after the Big Bang, essentially allowing us to time travel to the beginning of the Universe.

Not only this, but the telescope will also be able to provide information about the atmospheric composition of distant planets which will greatly aid in the hunt for life in the vast cosmos.

Its observations will not just be limited to the far beyond but also focus on bodies in our own Solar System like Mars and Titan, one of Saturn’s moons.

The James Webb Telescope will bring forth a new age of scientific exploration in Space. Providing never before seen data in a wide range of fields, the scope of JWST is massive.

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