James Webb Space Telescope

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A successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, planned for launch in 2014 or later. It is being built by NASA with contributions from ESA and the Canadian Space Agency. The telescope will have a lightweight mirror 6.5m in diameter consisting of 18 hexagonal segments which will be folded for launch and opened when in space. JWST will be positioned at the L2 Lagrangian point, 1.5 million km from Earth on the side away from the Sun. It is designed to operate at infrared wavelengths, to study heavily redshifted light from early in the history of the Universe. A sunshield will block the Sun's rays, keeping the four infrared instruments cool. The Near-Infrared Camera (NIR Cam) will take images in the wavelength range 0.6–5 μm; the Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIR Spec) will collect spectra of more than 100 objects simultaneously in the range 1–5 μm; and the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) will perform imaging and spectroscopy at wavelengths of 5–27 µm, and the Tunable Filter Imager (TFI), a narrow-band camera that provides imagery over a wavelength range of 1.5 to 5 μm. The JWST is named after James Edwin Webb (1906–92), NASA's second administrator who served from 1961 to 1968. It will be operated by the Space Telescope Science Institute.

http://jwst.gsfc.nasa.gov/ Official mission website.


Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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