“The James Webb Telescope Will Tell Us How The Universe Began”

2021-05-23   |   by CusiGO

A few days ago, in a hangar half an hour from the White House, something happened that would never happen again on earth. For the last time, a spectacular device the size of a football field began to spread its wings. It shows 18 gold-plated hexagonal mirrors that look like the eyes of a giant fly. This is the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most accurate in history. Gold has a meaning: it will be an observatory dedicated to capturing infrared light below the visible spectrum, which improves the sensitivity of the mirror.

The telescope will be the first to see one of the most exciting moments in the history of the universe: the birth of light. 13.7 billion years ago, the big bang was the beginning of the history of the universe. If someone is there – something completely impossible like this – they don’t see anything. There were no atoms, no light, only complete and absolute darkness. It will take about 200 million years for the universe to get out of the dark ages. The first star and the first Galaxy were born, so far away that they could not be observed by earth or space telescopes. They’re like monsters that mapped completely unknown areas centuries ago. James Webb will be the first human tool to be able to show us what the first galaxies and stars look like, which provide the elements of all of us and everything else we know.

On the day James Webb unfolded his wings, an astrophysicist in Viggo watched the process from the glass side of the white room at NASA’s Goddard Space Center. She is Begonia Vera, the daughter of a housewife and a carpenter, who has devoted a quarter of her life to the telescope. Vera, 58, studied physics and chemistry in Santiago de Compostela, where she first made visible cosmic observations at the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics and then radio observations at the Jordan Bank telescope, A huge antenna made by the British Army during World War II was converted to explore the universe. Then he began to design two of James Webb’s instruments for the Canadian Space Agency.

The development of the telescope is one of the longest and most expensive adventures in the history of science. Its initial cost of less than $1 billion has swelled to $8 billion. The European Space Agency is also involved in this work. It was launched about 15 years later than planned. But according to the person in charge, this is a good time to go into space, because we now know that many earth sized exoplanets and habitable areas can be explored in detail, looking for traces of life.

After the launch scheduled for October 31, James Webb will travel 1.5 million kilometers to Lagrange point 2, a space region where the gravitational balance of the earth and the sun enables objects to maintain a fixed position relative to the two objects. There you can see a clear picture of the universe.

Vera has been the supervisor of all instrument tests, in a huge room simulating the extremely low temperature of the space where the telescope is located. Once he arrives at his destination, James Webb will spend four months preparing all his instruments, and Vera will be one of the directors of all these tests. In this online interview, astrophysics explains what the biggest discovery of this huge scientific machine is.

Questions. What can this telescope see for the first time?

answer. The telescope is three stories high and the size of a tennis court. It will be twice the size of the previous Hubble telescope, and it will allow us to see the universe in a new light. One of the goals of this telescope is to look back at time. It can capture the infrared light emitted by the first star in the universe billions of years ago, the primitive light object. Light has been traveling for 13.5 billion years, and the only way to see it is with an infrared detector.

Page 1. You can see the first galaxy, too?

A. Opening of the conference We know what our galaxy is like. It’s a very clean and orderly spiral. Earth people live in one arm of this galaxy. But if we look back, galaxies and protostars don’t have the same shape. This telescope will show us what the first star looked like. What does the first group of stars look like, that is, the first Galaxy. There are some models trying to reconstruct them, but this telescope with a camera will be the first to show how everything started and how we got to the universe as we are now.

Page 1. What else can he do?

A. Opening of the conference In the infrared range, we can also explore the space region where stars and their surrounding planets form. We’re talking about the formation of the solar system, similar to our own, or perhaps very different. Thanks to previous telescopes, we’ve got a long list of exoplanets orbiting other stars, which are very interesting, rock world and earth size. They may be closer to the sun. What the observatory is going to do is find new planets in what we call habitable areas (which may have liquid water). Now that you have a list of candidate planets, you can see their atmospheres.

Page 1. What are you looking for in these atmospheres?

A. Opening of the conference Life marks. For example, if you have water or carbon dioxide. This may indicate that there is similar life on earth. This is another step on our long road to answering the question of whether we are the only one in the universe.

Page 1. What’s your favorite planet to live on?

A. Opening of the conference One of the most eye-catching will be the solar trap system, which has several planets orbiting a star redder than the sun. It was only recently known that these dwarfs might have planets. There are also targets for finding new planets on known stars.

Page 1. What do the models say about the first star?

A. Opening of the conference In the early days of the universe, there were only helium, hydrogen and some deuterium. That’s what I’m talking about. In those days, it was impossible for the earth, the sun or ourselves to exist, because we had to remember that we were made of stardust. These early stars had to be made up of these elements, and we know they’re dead, and they exploded as supernovae millions of years ago. All they have is the light of their past, which keeps coming to us. Some of these stars can produce other elements in the periodic table, which are released to enrich the next generation of stars. So we’ve been evolving until we get to stars like this.

Page 1. Can James Webb find a new planet in the ninth planet of our solar system, the solar system?

A. Opening of the conference Yes, we can find the ninth planet in the solar system. We will be able to study all planets except Mars and its moons. For example, we know that Jupiter and Saturn have no life because they are gaseous planets, but some of their moons may have life. They’re ice covered bodies with liquid water underneath. Maybe there’s life there. We also know that there are several asteroid belts in the solar system, in part because poor Pluto is no longer a planet. I believe we will be able to describe many of the objects in these asteroid belts, and maybe even a new planet. Although this may bring us back to the discussion of whether it is an asteroid or a planet.

Page 1. Are there any more scientific goals?

A. Opening of the conference There are kites. Or the threat of a dangerous asteroid hitting the earth. James Webb can also quickly observe a point in space in case of an alarm. For example, if there is a supernova in the galaxy, or an unknown comet approaching, we can observe it in an emergency.

Page 1. If there is an asteroid coming, it can destroy life, will we see it?

A. Opening of the conference Yes, I have But it has to be an object, it has come a long way, and its trajectory has prevented us from detecting it so far.

Page 1. Do you think other planets with life, even civilization, would ask us the same question?

A. Opening of the conference We humans always think we are special. First of all, the earth is the center of the universe. When someone said the sun was the center, we punished him. And then we think there’s only one galaxy, ours. But there are millions. There are also billions of solar systems. According to this line, I think there may be life, which is incredible, because even on our planet, life is hard to come by. This is a very small probability, but because the universe is so big, I believe there is life, and we will find it at some time.

Page 1. On the page of this diary, we read that the discoverer of the first exoplanet said that there was no God in the universe. There was also an astrophysicist and Protestant priest who led the first picture of black hole shadow, saying that science could not answer the big question about life. What do you think?

A. Opening of the conference Science can explain a lot of things. The only limit is our knowledge. In the middle ages, few people understood solar eclipses. Some people use them to intimidate and control ignorant people, people with magical ideas. That’s why I think education is very important. It makes us human, and it makes us a species. I was Catholic, though I didn’t practice. I think spirituality is important. It has many different forms. I think it’s part of us. I don’t think the two worlds are incompatible. We have to continue to learn. We are a bunch of cells, but we are conscious and therefore spiritual. There is a saying: “science teaches us how to move the sky, not how to get into heaven.”

Page 1. Of all the things that James Webb can find, what do you think is the most important?

A. Opening of the conference We all want a surprise. One of the hallmark images of the Hubble Space Telescope shows the ultra deep field. Before this Observatory saw a small piece of space, our previous telescopes saw nothing. It was completely empty. Hubble tells us that there are actually thousands of galaxies in this small space. It was a cruel surprise. I think James Webb can do the same. Now we have a lot of biases against physical phenomena, and this instrument may allow us to eliminate them.

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