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Space & Astronomy

NASA reveals telescope's giant golden mirror

By T.K. Randall
April 30, 2016 · Comment icon 16 comments

NASA released photographs of the telescope being constructed. Image Credit: NASA
The impressive gold-coated mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope has been revealed in all its glory.
The successor to NASA's successful Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb will be the most powerful space telescope in the world when it launches in around two years' time.

With an impressive 6.5-meter gold-coated segmented mirror the new telescope is much larger than Hubble ( which has only a 2.4-meter mirror ) and will see in infrared rather than in visible light which means it will be able to peer much deeper in to the cosmos than its predecessor.
The mirror has been built in 18 separate segments which will deploy once the telescope is in orbit.

"Scientists from around the world will use this unique observatory to capture images and spectra of not only the first galaxies to appear in the early universe over 13.5 billion years ago, but also the full range of astronomical sources such as star forming nebulae, exoplanets, and even moons and planets within our own Solar System," NASA wrote on its website.



Source: Science Alert | Comments (16)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy 8 years ago
There is little point in Webb looking at the visible wavelengths. Advances in technology, particularly in adaptive optics, since Hubble was designed and launched mean that ground based telescopes can often match and exceed Hubble and Webb's capabilities at a fraction of the cost. The JWST only makes sense if it is making observations that ground based telescopes can't. Indeed. If you want to look at visible wavelenghts there is no need to go into space, but infrared radiation is absorbed by the athmoshere. So no matter how large you make an infrared telescope on Earth, it will never be able to... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by TripGun 8 years ago
Hopefully this Webb Cam don't need contacts like Hubble did.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Calibeliever 8 years ago
I am so unbelievably impressed that they are going to launch this enormous, incredibly delicate, piece of hardware into orbit on top of an exploding rocket generating earthquake sized vibrations and roller coaster g-forces and have it function once it's there. There are days when I feel I'm pretty good at what I do, and then I see people accomplishing engineering on this scale and realize that I just mostly suck.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Merc14 8 years ago
Hopefully this Webb Cam don't need contacts like Hubble did. I remember that mess and I thought, at the time, that coupled with the still fresh in our minds Challenger disaster, the Hubble screw-up may just spell the end of NASA. The subsequent repair was NASA at its best, from the engineers who designed the corrective optics and new instruments to the shuttle crew who carried out the myriad repairs and upgrades over 10 long days. The first images after the repair mission were perfect and the rest is history. One advantage the JWST will have is each of the mirror segments can move and place it... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by Derek Willis 8 years ago
I remember that mess and I thought, at the time, that coupled with the still fresh in our minds Challenger disaster, the Hubble screw-up may just spell the end of NASA. The subsequent repair was NASA at its best, from the engineers who designed the corrective optics and new instruments to the shuttle crew who carried out the myriad repairs and upgrades over 10 long days. The first images after the repair mission were perfect and the rest is history. One advantage the JWST will have is each of the mirror segments can move and place its mirror in its correct position. Obviously a badly designed ... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by Merc14 8 years ago
5 new telescopes coming on line between 2018 (JWST) and 2022 (30 meter and EELT) that are all going to be game changers in their own right. Truly an amazing time to be an astronomer.
Comment icon #13 Posted by DieChecker 8 years ago
I am so unbelievably impressed that they are going to launch this enormous, incredibly delicate, piece of hardware into orbit on top of an exploding rocket generating earthquake sized vibrations and roller coaster g-forces and have it function once it's there. Not to mention avoiding the 170 million tiny bits of space debris flying at high speed around the Earth. The ISS maneuvers to avoid the big pieces and has shielding for the smaller ones, but I don't think most of the telescopes have either of those abilities.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 8 years ago
Not to mention avoiding the 170 million tiny bits of space debris flying at high speed around the Earth. The ISS maneuvers to avoid the big pieces and has shielding for the smaller ones, but I don't think most of the telescopes have either of those abilities. Firstly the 170 million figure is extremely alarmist as most of that is too small to cause damage, even too a satellite without the ISS's level of shielding. Secondly as the Webb Telescope will not be in Earth orbit this will not be a problem anyway. It will placed at the Sun-Earth L2 point, 1 million miles from the Earth,
Comment icon #15 Posted by DieChecker 8 years ago
Firstly the 170 million figure is extremely alarmist as most of that is too small to cause damage, even too a satellite without the ISS's level of shielding. Secondly as the Webb Telescope will not be in Earth orbit this will not be a problem anyway. It will placed at the Sun-Earth L2 point, 1 million miles from the Earth, Sweet! I guess I showed some ignorance there, as I didn't know it was going to the L2 point.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Merc14 8 years ago
Good article on why they want the JWST at L2 http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/webb-l2.html


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