Astronomers are restless people. They often seem like dreamers, believing they will understand the impossible — How did the Universe begin, and what about the Big Bang? It could be the philosophers’ job to answer the “why?” question, but scientists will get the needed help from the James Webb Space Telescope.
A new exploratory instrument is due to take over the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope after their retirement next year — The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). JWST will go further in space and time then the two.
James Webb Space Telescope to help astronomers learn more about the Big Bang
If Hubble is placed in Earth’s orbit just 570,000 kilometers from the surface, JWST will be placed 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. It’s almost a suicidal mission. The colossal distance means that if it breaks down up there, it will be the end of it.
But, the real wonder with JWST is that it is a sort of time machine. Hubble was one also. It saw the formation of the first galaxies, about one billion years after the Big Bang. About 0.3 years from the same moment, JWST will catch the time when the visible light began to form. How are these things possible?
Well, if you’re not an astronomer, you might miss the real signification of time and light. Out there, in the wide, vast universal space, time is tricky, and light is a superpower.
James Webb Space Telescope’s Designation
Far away, on the south-east corner of the Sun System, lies the Tarantula Nebula. The Spitzer Space Telescope’s first design was to observe the web of mysteries of this edge of the Milky Way.
At least 40 stars in the nebula have a mass of around 50 times that of our Sun. Real monsters of the Universe. In 1987, the remnant of one of the biggest supernovas in human history was discovered. They called it 1987A. The former star exploded and burned with the power of 100 million Suns for months.
The shockwave still exists out there. It moves through space, encountering the damaged dust of its explosion. And when it does so, the dust heats up and begins to radiate in infrared light. It’s like dust still feels the initial pain.
Spitzer Telescope was there to watch the tragic story of 1987A. James Webb Space Telescope will now take its place, and the astronomers hope it will reveal the truth — Maybe on how 1987A was born, also.