NASA’s space telescope to lift off on Christmas day

NASA’s space telescope to lift off on Christmas day

NASA’s space telescope to lift off on Christmas day

Written by Staff Writer

22 Dec, 2021 | 1:37 pm

COLOMBO(News 1s): The launch of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, has been postponed until Christmas day, poised for blastoff between 7.20am and 7.52am EST (1220-1253 GMT).

The delay was a result of poor weather at the launch site, the international space agency stated.

The orbiting infrared observatory which is set to blast off on an Ariane 5 rocket from a site in French Guiana on South America’s northeastern coast, reached its completion years behind schedule, at a cost far higher than estimated.

NASA’s James Webb Space telescope designed to look further in to space than ever imagined before, may lead the way in to a new era in astronomy. As it garners information on the universe’s earliest stages, star formation, and if life on planets beyond our solar system can be realized.

The US$9 billion instrument will be released from the rocket after a 26-minute ride into space. It will then take the Webb telescope a month to coast to its destination in solar orbit roughly 1 million miles from Earth – about four times the distance from the moon.

The James Webb Space Telescope, in comparison to its predecessor the Hubble Space Telescope, orbits the Earth itself from 340,000 miles away.

The new telescope’s primary mirror – consisting of 18 hexagonal segments of gold-coated beryllium metal – also has a much bigger light-collecting area, enabling it to observe objects at greater distances, hence farther back into time, than the Hubble telescope.

Scientists plan to utilize the telescope to assimilate all phases of the universe’s history dating back to just after the Big Bang event about 13.8 billion years ago,  as well as studying exoplanets – planets beyond our solar system – along with worlds closer to home such as our planetary neighbor Mars and Saturn’s moon Titan.

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