James Webb Space Telescope Enters “Cooldown”: What Does It Mean?


The James Webb Space Telescope scientists said they had completed all of the major structural assignments of the $ 10 billion (approximately 74,000 crore) observatory in space. What begins now is the telescope’s main mission, they added. The James Webb Space Telescope was launched on December 25th aboard an Ariane 5 rocket. It’s so big that it had to be folded to fit inside the rocket. After the rocket launched the folded telescope into space, scientists over the past week went through complex processes to deploy their tools, including the 21-foot gold-coated main mirror and its secondary mirror.

The James Webb Telescope, which will replace the Hubble Space Telescope, will study the origin of the universe. Equipped with sophisticated cameras, James Webb will view the celestial objects by capturing infrared light from them. In addition to studying our solar system, it should also learn more about distant worlds.

The scientists said the telescope is now entering a “cool down” period and they will be doing their updates less frequently, but their work will continue.

Alexandra Lockwood, the science communication project scientist for the James Webb telescope, said in a blog post that the telescope is entering a slower phase of the commissioning process. Lockwood added that words are not enough to express the joy the James Webb team experienced. “From engineers to scientists to IT staff, graphic designers and administrators (and more), we are all over the moon with the incredible achievements of the observatory to date,” said Lockwood.

Over the next two weeks, scientists will move each of the 18 main mirror segments of the James Webb Space Telescope and the secondary mirror from their starting positions. The telescope will shortly go through a third mid-course correction to bring it into precise orbit around the second Lagrange point, commonly known as L2, which is nearly 1.6 million km from Earth. This will be James Webb’s final position where his sun visor will protect him from direct sunlight and the sun reflected from the earth and moon.

James Webb Space Telescope is a joint project of the US, European and Canadian space agencies.

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