James Webb Telescope launch ..

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brian livesey
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James Webb Telescope launch ..

Post by brian livesey »

With the launch imminent, many people will be watching with bated breath that the launch and deployment of the complex space telescope will go ahead without a hitch.
“This is really a big deal,” said Professor Mark Cropper, of University College London, who helped develop Webb’s NIRSpectrometer. “It’s a very ambitious mission that has taken a long time to happen.” The instrument will measure the near-infrared light spectrum. “We want to look at the early universe, to understand how our stars and galaxies crystallised out of the original void,” he said.
Learning more about exoplanets and their atmospheres in the search for life-supporting gases is also on Webb’s observational agenda.
Professor Beth Biller, of Edinburgh University, who will analyse data yielded by the telescope, said: “This launch is hugely significant. There’s no question that the scientific results that come from the James Webb will be revolutionary. It will be the largest telescope in space.”
Last edited by brian livesey on Sat Dec 25, 2021 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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brian livesey
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Re: Webb Telescope launch ..

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Apparently, the launch went without a hitch. Now there are several months of procedures on the telescope itself before it becomes operational.
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JohnM
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Re: James Webb Telescope launch ..

Post by JohnM »

The only hitch' that we have been told about was the apparent early deployment of the Solar Panel. We don't have a detailed timeline but it deployed almost immediately after the sprint assisted separation from the upper stage of the Ariane.

The Ariane upper stage was due for one more burn to put it into a different orbit from the (J)WST, I thought that might have happened before solar panel deployment.

Also in the separation video from the Ariane camera there were a number of small bright reflective objects - were they ice, loose material from the telescope / upper stage or something more vital ? I think they were too bright to be stars as the separation was in sunlight.
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brian livesey
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Re: James Webb Telescope launch ..

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They say it will be six months before the Webb will become fully operational.
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JohnM
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Re: James Webb Telescope launch ..

Post by JohnM »

The 6 months includes both the unfolding and the instrument calibration time.

The minimum life of the telescope is supposed to be 5 1/2 years but they hope it will last for 10 - the limitation is how long the fuel for the thrusters lasts.

If it only lasts for the design lifetime of 5 1/2 years the costs of using it are in the order of 1/4 million US Dollars per hour !!

To some extent it has been made obsolete by the radio observations of the era of recombination that look beyond where (J)WST can observe. Still it can always be used to look at exoplanet atmospheres though I am not too sure of the benefit of that.

Most interesting will be the (J)WST deep field though I am not sure it can observe the same area of Sky as Hubble due to Sun & Earth constraints.
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brian livesey
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Re: James Webb Telescope launch ..

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As Webb will be operating in the Infra-red does the light have to be as sharply focused as in white light imaging, or is there some leeway in this respect? Infra-red heat images always seem to be fuzzy.
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