James Webb Space Telescope to reveal more about our universe

The most complicated infrared space telescope known as James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has just reached the observing point 1.5 million km away from the Earth. This observing position known as the Lagrange point 2 (L2) is the point in space where the gravitational pull of two large masses (Earth and Sun) equals the centripetal force for small object like James Webb Space Telescope to move with them without using much fuel.

James Webb Telescope will work ideally at a very low temperature, about – 230oC for Webb’s Near Infrared Camera. JWST will be able to see the early universe i.e. it should be able to see back in time to the formation of first galaxies few million years after the big bang. We also expect JWST to be able to see through cosmic dust and molecular clouds where new stars (stellar nursery) are born. JWST is also expected to see the centers or cores of active galaxies such as quasers. The JWST should also tell us more about exoplanets which are orbiting stars in nearby galaxies. It will be able to analyse the chemical composition of the atmosphere of these exoplanets and perhaps see if extra-terrestrial life exists outside our Solar System.

Surely, we are on a right path in our pursuit of finding the origins of the universe.
Watch this space for more updates.

Prof Thulani Jili
Positron Laboratory
Physics Department

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