From Hubble to Webb: The Future of Observing the Universe
The universe is a vast and mysterious place that has fascinated humans for centuries. With the advent of modern technology, man has been able to explore and understand more about outer space than ever before. One of the most iconic instruments in this regard is the Hubble Space Telescope – launched in 1990, it has been the eyes of the world for the last three decades. However, the Hubble Telescope’s time is coming to an end, but luckily it is being replaced by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) which is expected to revolutionize our understanding of the cosmos.
The Hubble telescope has been one of the most important tools in astronomy history, and has helped astronomers learn a lot about the universe. From observing the birth and death of stars, to studying distant galaxies and exploring dark matter and energy, the Hubble telescope has provided a plethora of information. It brought back breathtaking images of galaxies, nebulas and other celestial objects that have inspired and mesmerized scientists and the general public alike, and deepened our understanding of the universe.
However, as good as the Hubble Telescope has been, it has its limits. Due to its location, in a low orbit around Earth, it is affected by the atmosphere, which can limit its sharpness and clarity. Additionally, the Hubble cannot observe the universe’s first galaxies or probe the farthest reaches of the cosmos because it cannot observe ultraviolet or infrared light. This is where the JWST comes in, which will fill this gap by being able to observe infrared light, allowing astronomers to explore the earliest stars and galaxies that were formed just after the big bang, and delve deeper into the mysteries of our universe.
The James Webb Space Telescope has a number of advantages over the Hubble Telescope, including its location and its technology. It is being positioned at a location known as the Lagrange Point 2, which is 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, and offers a clear view of the cosmos, it provides steady and seamless view of the cosmos without any atmospheric interference. It’s also bigger and has more powerful instruments, that are essential to the observation of the cosmos outside of the visible light spectrum. The JWST’s sunshield, which is the size of a tennis court, folds up to allow it fit into the rocket, and will later unfold in space to ensure the telescope is not affected by sunlight, and its advanced technology is expected to help us better understand dark matter and energy and their roles in the universe.
The JWST is expected to take over from the Hubble Telescope in about a decade, and it’s projected to have a life span of about a decade and a half, but it is expected to have a greater impact than the Hubble on our understanding of the universe. It is a testament to our technological advancement and how much we’ve grown since the days of Galileo and other early astronomers, and will undoubtedly enable us to better understand the universe than ever before. The anticipation for the launch of the JWST is building, and we can expect that it will reveal even more secrets of our universe that we have yet to discover.