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James Webb Telescope


James Webb Telescope: Relevance

  • GS 3: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


James Webb Telescope: Context

  • NASA has recently launched the largest-ever space telescope by the Ariane 5 rocket from European Space Agency’s Spaceport in French Guiana, South America.


James Webb Telescope: Key points

  • It is a joint project of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
  • It is an infrared telescope, and being adjudged as the successor of the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope.
  • It is also said to be the most powerful space telescope ever built.
  • JWST will be positioned much deeper into the space, at a spot known as L2.
    • L2 is one of the five points, known as Lagrange’s points, in any revolving two-body system like Earth and Sun, where the gravitational forces of the two large bodies cancel each other out.
    • Objects placed at these points are relatively stable and require minimal external energy to keep themselves there.
    • L2 is a position directly behind Earth in the line joining the Sun and the Earth.
    • It would be shielded from the Sun by the Earth as it goes around the Sun, in sync with the Earth.


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James Webb Telescope: Significance

  • It is expected to unveil many secrets of the universe, particularly those related to the formation of stars and galaxies in the early period after the Big Bang.
  • Time machine: These telescopes are also known as time machine of space due to their ability to see very faraway objects.
  • The images of stars and galaxies shown by the telescope are images of stars or galaxies as they were millions of years ago.
    • It is because the light coming from those objects, stars or galaxies, which is captured by these telescopes, began its journey millions of years earlier.
  • The images sent by Hubble form the basis for much of our present-day understanding of the early universe and the formation and destruction of planets, stars and galaxies.
  • James Webb Telescope has the ability to look in the infrared spectrum, which will allow it to peer through much deeper into the universe, and see-through obstructions like gas clouds.


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JWST functions

  • Infrared camera will take images of astronomical objects
  • Spectrometers will break the incoming infrared light into different colours for analysis.


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