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  • Elizabeth Cocking

Did you know? The James Webb telescope

Bigger and better than the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb Telescope (JWST) will look way back in time.

The JWST will orbit at approximately 1.5 million kilometres from Earth, four times farther from Earth than the Moon. If anything goes awry, humans will not be able to service the telescope. Simply put, the JWST will either work or it will not. The side of JWST that always faces the Sun will constantly sit at a scorching 185º F, hotter than Death Valley (the hottest place on Earth), while the other side will constantly sit at a frigid -388º F, twice as cold as Antarctica.

The eighteen primary mirror segments are coated in gold. The coating is so thin, the total amount is about the size of a golf ball, that a single strand of human hair is 1,000 times thicker. The image above is an artwork by Kevin Gill.

The JWST is named after James Edwin Webb (1906–1992), NASA's second administrator who led the agency during the development of the Apollo program that landed the first humans on the Moon. It will capture light that has been travelling through the cosmos for as long as 13.5 billion years back to a time when the very first galaxies were born, several hundred million years earlier than the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Do you want to find out more about the James Webb Space Telescope? . . .

Then Zoom into our monthly meeting on Monday 4th July 2022 when our speaker will be Glen Nagle,from the NASA Deep Space Network Station, Canberra, talking on The James Webb Space Telescope and Beyond.

Also, at our monthly meeting on Monday 5th September 2022 our speaker, Dr Benjamin Pope from the University of Queensland, will be speaking on Research Using the James Webb Space Telescope.


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