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James Webb: Space telescope reveals ‘incredible’ Jupiter views

James Webb: Space telescope reveals ‘incredible’ Jupiter views

Science
NASA/ESA/CSA/Jupiter ERS Team/Judy SchmidtThe world's largest and most powerful space telescope has revealed unprecedented views of Jupiter. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) took the pictures of the Solar System's biggest planet in July. The images show auroras, giant storms, moons and rings surrounding Jupiter in detail that astronomers have described as "incredible".The infrared images were artificially coloured to make the features stand out.This is because infrared light is invisible to the human eye."We've never seen Jupiter like this. It's all quite incredible," said planetary astronomer Imke de Pater, of the University of California, who played a key role in the project."We hadn't really expected it to be this good, to be honest," she added.The $ 10bn (£8.5bn) JWST is an intern...
James Webb telescope begins crucial sun shield tensioning

James Webb telescope begins crucial sun shield tensioning

Science
Jan. 3 (UPI) -- The James Webb Space Telescope began one of the most complicated parts of its deployment Monday as NASA sent commands to fully extend the first layer of the observatory's critical five-layer sunshield. The $ 10 billion space telescope -- the largest and most powerful in history -- still is in the first half of its 29-day deployment schedule as it flies through space to a position over one million miles from Earth. Mission controllers worked through two minor issues Sunday that could have degraded performance of the spacecraft over time, according to NASA. But the agency said the space telescope was never in danger and the extra day allowed it to return Webb to optimal performance. On Tuesday and Wednesday, NASA intends to extend the remaining five layers of the shield, whi...
Could Nasa's James Webb Space Telescope detect alien life?

Could Nasa's James Webb Space Telescope detect alien life?

Science
If it does launch as currently scheduled in 2021, it will be 14 years late. When finally in position, though - orbiting the Sun 1.5 million km from Earth - Nasa's James Webb Space Telescope promises an astronomical revolution. The US space agency boasts that it will literally "look back in time to see the very first galaxies that formed in the early Universe".As if those claims were not bold enough, scientists have now surmised that the eventual successor to the world famous and beloved Hubble Space Telescope may - thanks to its 6.5m golden mirror and exquisitely sensitive cameras - have a another extraordinary talent. The JWST, as it is called, may be able to look for signs of alien life - detecting whether atmospheres of planet...
NASA engineers use gold to redirect excess heat from James Webb Telescope

NASA engineers use gold to redirect excess heat from James Webb Telescope

Science
June 5 (UPI) -- Engineers at NASA have found a way to redirect excess heat from the James Webb Telescope's most sensitive instruments. The telescope's four instruments are contained within the integrated science instrument module, or ISIM, which sits behind the array's main mirror. These sensitive instruments could be damaged or disrupted by excess heat, so scientists had to find a way to redirect thermal energy away from the ISIM. As detailed in a mission update published Tuesday by NASA, engineers are currently installing gold baffles that will channel thermal radiation away from the instruments and out into space. Gold also helps the telescope's mirrors direct infrared light toward the ISIM. "Gold has a very high reflectivity in the infrared spectrum range, so it is ideal for directin...
NASA pushes back launch date for James Webb Space Telescope, again

NASA pushes back launch date for James Webb Space Telescope, again

Science
Sept. 29 (UPI) -- NASA's new target window for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope is between March and June 2019. The world's most powerful space telescope was previously scheduled to launch in October 2018."The change in launch timing is not indicative of hardware or technical performance concerns," Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at the agency's D.C. headquarters, announced in a news release this week. "Rather, the integration of the various spacecraft elements is taking longer than expected."An international agreement with the European Space Agency required NASA to analyze the telescope's launch preparedness one year prior to the launch date. The assessment forced officials to reconsider their plans, and ultimately inspired NASA...