October 2018, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has been serving humanity’s eyes into infinite space, taking over the responsibility of Hubble and providing important images that would help researchers with their studies.
To learn mor about its undeniable legacy and mind-boggling capabilities, read these amazing facts about the JWST.
Biggest telescope mankind has ever created (so far)
Since its launch in 2018, the JWST has been the giant telescope created and launched, topping the 1990s Hubble Space Telescope. In comparison, Hubble has a 7.9-foot-wide primary mirror, and JWST has a 21.3-foot-wide mirror, which is an essential feat that has been accomplished by astronomers, considering how much it will accelerate our space exploration.
JWST’s mirror is coated with 24k gold
JWST has been tasked to observe the farthest objects in the observable universe, and such a feat would never be accomplished by using standard and traditional materials. They doubled down and coated JWST’s mirror with 24k gold.
With JWST traveling light-years away from us, there would come a time when objects would be hard to see because most of its light would be on the red side of the electromagnetic spectrum. A 24k carat plated mirror would be very effective when reflecting red light, most specifically, better than most materials here on earth.
As a bonus fact, did you know that the gold plating on the JWST mirror is only the size of a golf ball?
JWST will not receive any human-crewed service repair mission
Unlike Hubble, which has constantly been receiving repairs throughout its lifetime, the JWST will not receive any since it will be orbiting the earth nearly 1 million miles away. Having this distance, it’s not a sustainable process to constantly send human-crewed missions to repair the equipment. It doesn’t mean that JWST will not last any longer; we can expect the telescope to bring us mesmerizing photos of the unknown for decades.
JWST has laser point vision
Vision sharpness, or in other terms, angular resolution, is the key for most space telescopes to work and produce such images that we see very clearly. JWST is one good example of a space telescope done perfectly. For instance, using the telescope, it’s a child’s play to see a penny from 24 miles away. In another reference point, that’s like saying you can see and process a football from 340 miles from the starting point.
JWST could help with water search and identification of exoplanets from afar
Currently, there are plenty of ways for NASA and other space monitoring agencies to detect planets, especially those capable of hosting life. Although, so far, we haven’t found any world that is directly like earth, with the same atmosphere and gas volume to enable humans to exist and live.
There are more techniques that astronomers utilize to discover planets. Still, one thing that can help them is JWST’s capability to look for water sources on certain planets, thus making it much easier to decode if an exoplanet is a good candidate for hosting life. This is entirely possible with JWST’s unique infrared light system.
JWST is destined to discover something big
JWST has been created to attain specific goals, but one big thing that JWST is destined to discover is the first light created, not just the earliest stars and galaxies, but the first ones as well. These primordial celestial bodies are also responsible for the earth’s formation. Seeing this light is fantastic, especially if you’re a science buff or just a fan of space and the unknown in general.
JWST’s surfaces suffer contradicting temperatures
One side of the JWST is constantly facing the sun; hence, one side is expected to have a scorching temperature, which is even considered hotter than Death Valley. On the other hand, the other side is expected to be as cold as Antarctica, if not worse. There’s no harm in it, though, since most of the materials and instruments, like the mirror present here, can operate even in the coldest temperatures; one would say that it is even better for them to be on this side.