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Home / Science / NASA’s Webb Telescope will be the world’s best space science observatory-this is what these powerful features mean for astronomy

NASA’s Webb Telescope will be the world’s best space science observatory-this is what these powerful features mean for astronomy



Hubble Messier 92

This image from NASA̵

7;s Hubble Space Telescope shows the heart of the globular star cluster Messier 92 (M92), one of the oldest and brightest stars in the Milky Way. The cluster is densely packed with approximately 330,000 stars, which orbit the center of the entire Milky Way galaxy. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will observe M92 or similar globular clusters early in its mission to demonstrate its ability to distinguish the light of individual stars in dense environments. Weber’s high resolution and sensitivity will provide scientists with a large amount of detailed stellar data related to many fields of astronomy, including the life cycle of stars and the evolution of the universe. Image source: NASA / ESA; Courtesy: Gilles Chapdelaine

Early observations of stars in the local universe will pave the way for multi-year discoveries on a series of scientific topics

Combination of high resolution and infrared detection instrument NASAComing soon James Webb Space Telescope It will provide astronomers with a large amount of detailed data about individual stars in the local universe. A group of scientists developed a test of Weber’s stellar resolution capabilities, which will pave the way for future observations and discoveries in many fields of astronomy, including dark energy, stellar life cycles, and the evolution of galaxies over time in the universe.

James Webb Space Telescope rendering

Artist’s conception of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Image Credit: NASA, ESA and Northrop Grumman

NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope combines high-resolution and infrared detection instruments to reveal stars that can be hidden even if they are hidden in powerful stars Hubble Space Telescope. A large amount of additional star data will enable astronomers to study a range of issues, from star birth to star death to the elusive expansion rate of the universe. Early observations of Webb will demonstrate its ability to distinguish the individual lights of stars in the local universe in a variety of environments, and provide astronomers with tools to take full advantage of Webb’s powerful capabilities.

The Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are revolutionary, opening the door to the infrared universe, beyond the range of red visible light. Weber is a natural evolution of these missions, combining Spitzer’s view of the infrared universe with Hubble’s sensitivity and resolution. ” UC Berkeley, Is the lead researcher of Webb’s Early Release Science (ERS) program on the decomposed star population.

Weber’s ability to distinguish individual stars surrounded by gas and dust in visible light will be applicable to many fields of astronomy research. The goal of the ERS project is to prove Webb’s capabilities in the local universe and create a free and open source data analysis program for astronomers to make the most of the observatory as quickly as possible. The data from the ERS program will be immediately available to other astronomers and archived through the Barbara A. Mikulski Space Telescope Archive (MAST) for future research.

Insight into dark energy

Weber’s ability to pick details for more individual stars than we’ve seen before will improve distance measurements to nearby galaxies, which Weiss said is crucial to one of the biggest mysteries of modern astronomy: how fast the universe is expanding ? A phenomenon called dark energy seems to be driving this expansion. Various methods of calculating the expansion rate have led to different answers, and the differences among astronomers allow Weber’s data to help reconcile.

Weitz said: “In order to do any scientific work, first calculate the distance, and then calculate the expansion rate of the universe, we need to be able to extract the light of individual stars from the Weber image.” “Our ERS project team will develop software to enable the community Take these types of measurements.”

Space telescope electromagnetic spectrum

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is designed to observe infrared light, which is wavelengths other than rainbow light that is invisible to the human eye. The longer wavelengths of infrared provide information that other wavelengths cannot, including star formation and other processes that occur after a thick dust veil that blocks the shorter wavelengths of visible light. Weber will detect the infrared light range that overlaps with those observed by other NASA missions, but will also cover most of the infrared spectrum that does not exist in the infrared spectrum. This infographic highlights Weber’s overlapping and complementary spectrum coverage through two NASA missions (Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope). Weber combined Hubble’s imaging capabilities and sensitivity with Spitzer’s infrared coverage, and surpassed both, providing a large amount of new infrared data hidden outside the visible red light in the universe. Image source: NASA and J. Olmstead (STScI)

Stellar life cycle

Seeing more stars will mean more understanding of their life cycle. Weber will provide a new perspective on all stages of star life from the star to the dead.

“At present, we are actually limited to studying the formation of stars on our own Galaxy “However, with the help of Weber’s infrared function, we can see dusty cocoons, which obscured other places in the Milky Way where protostars form, such as the metal-rich Andromeda Galaxy, and observed how stars are in very different environments. form.”

Astronomer Martha Boyer, who is also a member of the Observation Project team, is interested in the insights that Weber will provide at the end of the star’s life cycle. Weber will provide these insights as the star expands, turns red, and becomes dusty.

“NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope showed us that dusty stars even exist in very primitive galaxies that were not originally expected. Now, with the help of Webb, we will be able to characterize them and understand how our stellar life cycle model is. Consistent with real observations,” said Boyer, an instrument scientist in the Webb near-infrared camera (NIRCam) team at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

Early universe via local neighbors

Analyzing and studying individual stars is necessary to understand the big picture of how galaxies form and function. Then, astronomers can ask bigger questions about how galaxies evolve over time and space, from the distant early universe to the local group, which is a collection of more than 20 nearby galaxies to which our Milky Way belongs. Weisz explained that although the observation program will be observed locally, there is still evidence that the early universe has been discovered.

Weiss said: “We will let Webb study a nearby ultra-faint dwarf galaxy, which is the remnant of the first seed galaxy formed in the universe, some of which eventually merged into larger galaxies, such as the Milky Way.” At long distances, these types of galaxies are so weak that even Weber can’t see them, but small local dwarf galaxies will show us what they looked like billions of years ago.”

“We really need to understand Local In order to understand the universe All Boyer said. “The local group of galaxies is a kind of laboratory where we can study galaxies in detail-every component. In distant galaxies, we can’t resolve too many details, so we don’t know what happened. Understanding distant galaxies or early The main step in galaxies is to study the collection of galaxies that we can reach.”

As the Webb mission progresses, Boyer and Weisz expect that astronomers will use tools developed by their team in unexpected ways. They emphasized that the development of this program is an effort of the entire local cosmic astronomy community, and they plan to continue this cooperation after data input. Their observation program team plans to hold a seminar to discuss the results of the program with others. Astronomers and adjusting the software they developed, all of which are to help members of the astronomy community spend time using Webb for research.

Weisz said: “I think it’s really important-working together to realize large-scale scientific ideas, not ideas that many of us are trying to compete.”

The James Webb Space Telescope will be launched in 2021, and it will become the world’s most important space science observatory. Weber will solve the mysteries of our solar system, set his sights on the planets around other distant stars, and explore the mysterious structure and origin of our universe and our place. Webb is an international program led by NASA and its partners ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency.




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