Author Topic: James Webb space telescope website  (Read 367 times)

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Offline ssfc72

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James Webb space telescope website
« on: December 31, 2021, 09:53:29 am »
https://webb.nasa.gov/content/webbLaunch/whereIsWebb.html

This is an excellent website that shows a timeline of the critical events that the telescope has to complete, on its way to it's parking spot at the L2 Lagrange position.
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Offline Jason

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Re: James Webb space telescope website
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2021, 06:51:39 pm »
Very cool, Bill! I've watched animations showing the unfolding of the telescope. It's amazing how they folded everything into such a small area and how precisely everything will unfold as it proceeds on its trip. Also, a bit terrifying with so many things that could go wrong! I look forward to the first pictures.

Thanks for sharing.
"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." - Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Offline fox

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Re: James Webb space telescope website
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2022, 08:36:45 am »
I have been following the Simply Space YouTube channel, and it's amazing what astronomers and astrophysicists have already been able to piece together about galaxies and planets outside our solar system. This telescope should give them a lot more to work with.
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Offline Jason

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Re: James Webb space telescope website
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2022, 01:54:39 am »
I have been following the Simply Space YouTube channel, and it's amazing what astronomers and astrophysicists have already been able to piece together about galaxies and planets outside our solar system. This telescope should give them a lot more to work with.

It is. When I was a kid, they hadn't discovered any exoplanets (in the 80s). The total we know about now is almost five thousand! These planets are too distant or too small to be seen optically for the vast majority. That's why it took so long to find them. Because they can't be seen, astronomers figured out how to detect the presence of planets by the periodic dimming of stars of wobbling from planets tugging on them. We also know about some planets in the habitable zone that could support life.

While we can now detect the atmospheres of planets routinely now, James Webb will do it in much better detail and be able to detect those of much more distant planets. It'll do this because it will have better instruments but also because it will be much further from Earth actually in orbit around the sun, not the Earth as Hubble is. Of course, it will be able to do much more.

Btw, if you're interested in this kind of thing, you should check out CuriosityStream, Fox. It's $20/year and has tonnes of documentaries. I watch it on my computer but I'm sure you use a Firestick or maybe Apple TV to watch it. After several years, I haven't even gotten scratched the surface. I know I sound like a commercial but it's that great. They also tend to be very scientific. They don't put a lot of the crap that you see on television that pretends to be scientific but has little science in it (aliens, ghosts, psychic powers, alternative medicine, etc.).
"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." - Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Offline Jason

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Re: James Webb space telescope website
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2022, 02:01:24 am »
There's a neat animation of the orbit of James Webb as it orbits the sun. I think it's pulled along with the Earth but Bill would know better than I. I've attached a screenshot but the animation is here:

https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/13553#29025

The picture doesn't do it justice. The "camera" viewpoint moves so you can see a three-dimensional look of the orbit.
"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." - Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Offline Jason

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Re: James Webb space telescope website
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2022, 05:21:44 pm »
Tomorrow the final unfolding happens when the mirror itself is unfolded. Hundreds of operations have happened to get to this point and if any single one had failed, the mission would have been over before it started.

Here's a video with some of the background (~8 minutes) and why it's so amazing.

https://youtu.be/uUAvXYW5bmI

I wish more people got excited about this stuff. The engineering feats behind this telescope blow my mind. And what it will find out about the universe will be even more amazing!
"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." - Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Offline fox

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Re: James Webb space telescope website
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2022, 09:23:34 am »
I am very excited about the James Webb telescope and what it will find. Hopefully it is fully functional and does what it was designed to do.
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Offline Jason

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Re: James Webb space telescope website
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2022, 02:11:05 pm »
It's fully deployed. The last unfolding of the mirror was on Saturday. I watched it, sort of. They presented an animation but it's one driven by the exact data coming from the telescope so if we could see it, it would look exactly like that. Except if we could see it in real life, the mirrors would be so dark we might not be able to see anything. There's a sun shield behind it. Because it's so far from Earth and shielded from the sun, it will be very dark from its vantage point which is exactly what you want for a telescope to see the best. I think they said it will be able to see 100x better than Hubble.

It still has to travel to the second Lagrange point (L2) which will take two weeks. That's one of the points at which the gravity from the sun equals the gravity from the Earth. So, it will be in a stable orbit around that point moving around the sun as the Earth does. Not quite sure I understand exactly how it orbits a point without anything in it but that's why they get the big bucks! Then it looks like 5 months of testing the motors on the mirror segments and then they'll be aligned for what should be an awesome first picture! I learned this watching NASA TV but it's also at the link (and more) that Bill shared.

I can't wait for that picture!
« Last Edit: January 09, 2022, 02:41:51 pm by Jason »
"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world." - Max Ehrmann, Desiderata