Časoris
Največji in najmočnejši teleskop v zgodovini nosi ime po Jamesu E. Webbu, ki je med letoma 1961 in 1968 vodil tedaj novonastalo vesoljsko agencijo Nasa. Predvidoma bo deloval med 5 in 10 let. Vir: Bill Ingalls/NASA
Največji in najmočnejši teleskop v zgodovini nosi ime po Jamesu E. Webbu, ki je med letoma 1961 in 1968 vodil tedaj novonastalo vesoljsko agencijo Nasa. Predvidoma bo deloval med 5 in 10 let. Vir: Bill Ingalls/NASA

The most advanced telescope in space

We mostly celebrated the Christmas holidays peacefully.

But it was tense at the space centre in French Guiana, from where the James Webb telescope was launched on Christmas Day.

This will replace the Hubble Space Telescope and give us an even better view of space.

The telescope was launched into space by the Ariane 5 rocket. When it separated from it, the US space agency NASA took over.

It will reach orbit in about three weeks. The final destination is about 1,5 million kilometres from Earth.

It will then take half a year for him to unfold his sun shield and main, 6,5-meter mirror. He will prepare instruments for photographing celestial bodies and for spectroscopy, and cool down.

What will its task be?

It will study the formation of the universe up to 200 million years after the Big Bang. This happened 13,8 billion years ago.

In addition, it will discover planets outside the Solar System and look for traces of life.

The scientist John C. Mather, who is involved in the project, said years ago that there is a very high probability that they would find life somewhere in space.

»We should not be surprised if we find life on Mars, Europe, Titan or elsewhere in the Solar System and if we detect oxygen around planets orbiting another star.«

Construction of the telescope began in 2004, but due to complications it was not completed until the end of last year.

The cost of the project has risen three times since the original plans, and is worth almost 9 billion euros today.

Glossary

Spectroscopy is the study of the absorption and emission of light and other radiation by matter. 

Points To Consider

  1. Why is space exploration so expensive?
  2. What are the achievements of James E. Webb, after whom the telescope is named?
  3. Where is French Guiana?

***

The original version of this article was published on January 4th.

English translation courtesy of JL FlannerTotal Slovenia News, an English language website with news from and about Slovenia.

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