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Why James Webb’s Infrared Vision Is a Gamechanger


Once it's launched, the James Webb Space Telescope will look way back in time to right after the universe formed. But what cuttingedge tech allows Webb to peer back so far, and how exactly does it work?

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When you look up at the night sky, you’re only seeing a tiny fraction of the estimated septillion stars out there in the universe…and honestly it’s not your fault…even astronomers have a hard time.

But now the James Webb Space Telescope may just make things a lot easier and push the very limits of infrared light observation to travel back over 13 billion years ago for a glimpse of our universe’s first light.

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The largest space telescope in history is about to blow our minds
The launch, which will propel the Webb to nearly a million miles away, is now scheduled for December 18, 2021. When it fully deploys in space, the Webb will usher in a new age of astronomy, scientists say, and show humanity things it has never seen before.

Webb vs. Hubble Telescope
This is the other reason that Webb is not a replacement for Hubble; its capabilities are not identical. Webb will primarily look at the Universe in the infrared, while Hubble studies it primarily at optical and ultraviolet wavelengths (though it has some infrared capability).

NASA’s Webb Telescope Will Look Back in Time, Use Quasars to Unlock the Secrets of the Early Universe
The quasars the team will study are not only among the most distant in the universe, but also among the brightest. These quasars typically have the highest black hole masses, and they also have the highest accretion rates — the rates at which material falls into the black holes.

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Thumbnail credit: Drew Noel

posted by voorbijp6