Till now, you all know that The James Webb Space Telescope is the most advanced space telescope ever built. It will allow us to see farther into space than ever before, and learn more about the origins of the universe. james webb images will be taken in infrared picture mode and then converted into high-quality colorful pictures. The Webb telescope is large and expensive, but it is also very advanced. james webb images also has a powerful infrared camera, which will allow it to see through the dust and gas in space. This is the reason why pictures from the James Webb telescope will be more clear than Hubble. This will allow it to view the earliest stages of the universe when galaxies were first forming. but,
In this blog, we’ll figure out and answer some buzzing-around questions that you also might have heard of. Like will JSWT find aliens? Why Webb’s mirror is too large? and When did we receive our First Images from the James Webb Space Telescope?. We’ll also cover the benefits of components has been in the telescope. And their role in taking pictures from the new space telescope.
JWST: Is the New Space Telescope a Cosmic Time Machine – james webb images
James Webb – a new space telescope is currently trending in science news, and if you’re following it daily basis you might have seen that many of the news agencies and research institutes are referring to the JWST as a time machine in the cosmic universe.
Recently on their official Twitter account, Northrop Grumman (@northropgrumman) tweeted that a space telescope is a time machine while referencing the new Webb telescope. The new James Telescope will be a game-changer in human civilization and unveil the deepest mysteries of our universe.
Now the question arrives can the most powerful new space telescope find the aliens? Well, we’ll cover it later in this blog. However, don’t expect to see the future! Since Webb is referencing a time machine. It can just disclose the past incidents in the universe.
A simplified definition of a time machine is that it can see the past and future. Since NASA’s latest and most powerful telescope in the world can observe the cosmic past very close to the Dark Ages second crucial incident after the big bang. This is why James Webb is referring to a Cosmic time machine. The First Images from the James Webb Space Telescope will release on 12th July 2022.
Will JWST find aliens? Two possibilities explained
James Webb Telescope will find the aliens! Answering this question is not as easy as you think. Before we come to the new space telescope and how it might help us to find life beyond the earth in a context, let’s understand how scientists decide on the extra-terrestrial in-universe. Several hypotheses are moving around it as till now we hadn’t received any proof of extra-terrestrial living.
‘Methane’ is considered a prominent life element on an exoplanet more than oxygen. Different studies have found that the presence of methane is a potential sign of life. The new James Webb spacecraft is more powerful than any available telescope to detect methene more accurately. So, in this context, you can assume a positive about the finding of aliens.
But there are several problems with this hypothesis. As we have ‘methene’ to ensure life, it can be released in Metroid collisions, volcano eruptions, and more reasons. Because of this, we can’t ensure life from James Webb images. Several other checks will be must to confirm the life-like exoplanet habitable zone in the respective solar system. Additionally, if the star of the respective solar system is brighter then infrared gets affected and scientists can’t figure out accurate details from James Webb’s images.
Don’t get disappointed if you were among them to think that JWST is capable to find aliens in this universe. A research paper published on arXiv suggests that the presence of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the atmosphere is a direct sign of technology just like on Earth. CFC gases are elements released after the use of ACs and refrigerators. Based on this assumption if there is any CFC available on an exoplanet in a solar system can be possible a sign of modern life.
You have heard of the lens and mirrors used in the Webb but many of you don’t know what is the purpose of using such a huge mirror and what the role of other components attached to the architecture of the JWST. Yes, this is possible some of you know that these are used to take better JWST images like galaxies, and other cosmic objects.
But how new space telescope’s pictures are better and sharper than Hubble and any other spacecraft. The working model of the new telescope is a vast topic and we’ll cover it in upcoming blogs, but for now, James Webb uses infrared lights to take pictures.
“We cannot see a broken bone without an X-ray machine, Similarly, we need near-infrared wavelengths to detect galaxies at beginning of cosmic time, and mid-infrared wavelengths to determine their compositions.” – said an ASTRO 3D Fellow-Nicha Leethochawalit, University of Melbourne.
Let’s understand the component and their role in the pictures from the James Webb telescope. In JWST, there are primarily three types of components used. Protecting components used to shield the telescope from temperature and other space threats, assisting or supporting components that connect and keep bind everything together, and the third one our core components used to unveil mysteries. Note that a spacecraft is a complex structure, so we only thrive on the knowledge that is enough for you to admire the use of different components in the operation of the James Telescope.
The Optical Telescope Element is the eye of the James Webb space telescope Observatory. The main job of this component is to collect the light coming from space and transfer it to science instruments. It consists of the primary mirror made of 18 hexagonal segments. Here is the details structure of OTE in the James Webb spacecraft. The more light it collects the more clear JWST images will be.
Image Reference: https://webb.nasa.gov/images/ote1.jpg
The Three Mirror Anastigmatic design is the reason for taking Superior quality in JWST images. The semi-rigid mirror in the hexagonal segment and backplane structure composite of graphite stable optical performance over the temperature. Mirrors in the James Webb telescope are covered in a microscopically thin layer of gold- No, It’s not for design and style but it optimizes them for reflecting infrared light.
If OTE is the eye of the most powerful telescope in the world, then ISIM is the heart of the spacecraft. Integrated Science Instrument Module is the one which contains all the main instruments. These are NIRCam, NIRSpec, MIRI (trending in news), and FGS. All these components take pictures from the James Webb telescope in different modes. We’ll discuss it in detail in our upcoming blogs, however, Nasa has shared an image that shows the difference between the JWST images taken (predicted) by these main four instruments.
Image Reference: VivyVd9nZdbL9wbLrR6FxU-970-80.png.webp
Three major regions are out there in the ISIM. in the first region the instruments are mounted to the ISIM structure and enclosed by the observatory enclosure and radiators. The second region is the electronic compartment used to mount surfaces and ambient thermally controlled environment for instrument electronics close to instruments. And the third region is comparatively small and is the house of data handling, Cyro-cooler, etc. See this infographic to understand deeply.
The official Twitter of James Webb shared a picture and tweeted: “The first of our 4 Webb instruments is fully ready for science! NIRISS, built by @csa_asc, is a camera and a spectrograph capable of analyzing exoplanet atmospheres”.
“The [NIRISS] instrument as a whole is performing significantly better than we predicted. I am pinching myself at the thought that we are just days away from the start of science operations.” –Rene Doyon, NIRISS/FGS instrument principal investigator
James Webb is ready to take high-quality pictures of stars, galaxies, and nebulas that are far away from us. This is possible because of infrared optimization. To detect those infrared heat signals and pictures from the James Webb telescope, the telescope must be kept extremely cold according to NASA. to balance and stabilize the telescope from additional heat or cold, a tennis court size 5 layer sun shield has been installed.
The position of the sun shield will always be between sun/moon/earth and telescope. In short, a sun shield protects telescope instruments from external light and heat coming from the sun/moon/earth. Here is the infographic image of how James Webb’s telescope is protected by Sun Shield.
Image Reference: sunshieldcrosssection.jpg
The sun shield layers are made of a material called Kapton, coated with aluminum. The sun-facing first two layers will get hottest, so treated silicon has been doped in. However, Kepton is a heat-resistant material that can face heat up to 400C.
‘The shape and design also direct heat out the sides, around the perimeter, and between the layers, Heat generated by the Spacecraft bus at the “core,” or center, is forced out between the membrane layers so that it cannot heat the optics.’ said James Kooper, Manager of Webb Sunshield at NASA.
The shape of the sun shield (kite-like) and several layers both have their significance in blocking the heat and additional light. The thickness of these layers is super thin layer one is 0.05mm and the other 4 layers are 0.025mm. Telescope optics like mirrors and cameras both must be always protected from direct exposure to any hot object.
Spacecraft bus provides the additional necessary support functions to operate the James Webb telescope. It has majorly 6 sub-systems which are-
- Electrical Power Subsystem
- Attitude Control Subsystem
- Communication Subsystem
- Command and Data Handling Subsystem
- Propulsion Subsystem
- Thermal Control Subsystem
You can see the representation picture of the spacecraft bus with the dimension and other details.
Image reference: bus3.jpg
The power subsystem converts sunlight signing on the solar panel into the power needed to operate the telescope. The propulsion subsystem includes fuel for the rocket to maintain observatory speed in the orbit. The attitude control subsystem maintains the angle and orientation of the spacecraft.
The communication subsystem acts as the ears and mouth of the Webb which communicates with NASA to send details for JWST images. while the command and data handling subsystem acts as the observatory’s brain. The thermal system maintains the temperature of the spacecraft bus to operate perfectly. You can see every component has a major role to perform in the spacecraft to reveal the truth of this universe. However, Every science lover is waiting for First Images from the James Webb Space Telescope and the details it will reveal.
You get the idea about the recent hypothesis, now back to the question. James Webb is quite capable of detecting such elements but the brightness of a star can affect the incoming cosmic infrared signal from the planet. Unfortunately, these are not proven to date and we have no option but to wait if the world’s most powerful telescope finds something exciting in James Webb’s images about the biomolecules on some extra-terrestrial planet.