Here’s everything the Webb Space Telescope will observe for the first year


The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope is announced for this fall. Finally ! Preparations are in full swing. The project managers have just announced the list of 286 projects to which they wished to allocate time during the first year of observation of the instrument.

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[EN VIDÉO] JWST: first mirror lifting in the world’s largest cleanroom
Welcome to the world’s largest cleanroom, the manufacturing lair of the world’s largest space telescope: the JWST, considered the successor to the venerable Hubble. In this time-lapse video, we witness the first lifting, in 2016, of its primary mirror, 6.5 meters in diameter, made up of 18 hexagonal segments made of beryllium and coated with gold. Its collecting surface is seven times larger than that of Hubble. The satellite launch is scheduled for October 2018 and the first observations xis months later. It will be the culmination of a project that began in the late 1990s.

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The long-awaited launch of the télescope spatial James Webb is now scheduled for December 22, 2021. And in addition to the last technical adjustments, on the side of NASA, the mission is moving forward. Those in charge have just selected the programs that can be carried out during the first year of observation of the telescope.

Recall that the great mirror from télescope spatial James Webb will observe theUniverse in the infrared domain – near to medium -, all with high imaging and spectroscopy capabilities resolution. What to hope to discover whole sections of the Universe which were until then inaccessible to us. « We open the treasure chest and surprises are guaranteed », enthuses John C. Mather, senior scientist of the project at Goddard Space Flight Center, in one NASA press release.

A rigorous and promising selection

As the observation time with the James Webb Space Telescope is extremely precious, the selection process was drastic and carried out by nearly 200 members of the international community of astronomers for several weeks on more than 1,000 voluntarily anonymized projects. Ultimately, 286 propositions have been selected (explore them by type). They aim to find the first galaxies, to study the formation of stars or to measure the physical and chemical properties of planetary systems, including our own.

« We look forward to the beautiful pictures and spectra and the amazing discoveries Webb will make in this first year of sightings ”, notes Gunther Hasinger, science director at the European Space Agency (ESA), NASA’s partner on the project. “The excitement is building. These targets are long-awaited observations that promise to broaden our vision of the Universe and our place in it ”, underlined for her part Sarah Gallagher, scientific advisor to the president of theCanadian space agency, the other partner of the James Webb Space Telescope project.

What you must remember

  • « Excitement is mounting » at NASA with the list of the first objects that will be observed by its new space telescope

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