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  • Webb telescope – Secondary mirror fully deployed

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    #2410596

    If you’ve been following the James Webb telescope saga, you’ll know that they are so far… so good. The sunshield has been deployed and now the secon
    [See the full post at: Webb telescope – Secondary mirror fully deployed]

    Susan Bradley Patch Lady

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    • #2410611

      Surely not just NASA?
      What about the Canadian Space Agency, and the European Space Agency?
      And what about the input from other countries too?

      I say well done to all involved, it’s fantastic. The James Webb Space Telescope is a fabulous example of international cooperation.

      Dell Inspiron 7580 i7 16GB Win 10 pro 21H2 19044.1415 Microsoft 365

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    • #2410629

      The James Webb telescope is a project that took a quarter century, from back-of-an-envelope scribblings to launch, has cost so far upwards of one thousand million dollars and is the joint effort of NASA together with its counterparts: ESA in Europe and CSA in Canada. Plus hundreds of organizations in many countries, as listed in the site below, that includes an interactive map to learn more about each contributor:

      https://jwst.nasa.gov/content/meetTheTeam/team.html#interactiveZoomableMapOfContributors

      NASA is the agency managing the mission directly from the James Webb’s Mission Control in Baltimore, Maryland:

      https://phys.org/news/2021-12-james-webb-space-telescope-room.html

      CSA has contributed sophisticated instruments carried with the telescope:

      https://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/satellites/jwst/canada-role.asp

      ESA took care of the launch from its space center at Kourou in French Guiana:

      https://www.esa.int/Applications/Observing_the_Earth/Copernicus/Earth_from_Space_Kourou_French_Guiana

      So far, NASA has been commanding the complex unfolding of the telescope in space, a mission milestone partially just achieved — as noted here by Susan — with the unfolding of the main mirror still remaining. NASA also is taking care of the corrective maneuvers to keep the telescope in its intended course. NASA will be, eventually, in charge of the insertion of the James Webb into its destination halo orbit around the imaginary Lagrange point where the Sun and Earth’s gravity (the sum of their gravitational pulls plus the orbit’s centrifugal force) cancel each other out a million kilometers from Earth and along the line connecting Earth and Sun’s centers of mass, in the direction away from the Sun and well beyond the Moon’s orbit.

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      • #2410655

        10 thousand millions. That’s 10 Billion $.

        worth every penny.

        • #2410685

          Correction accepted: “around ten thousand million dollars” it is. Or just over 0.4 billion a year, on average. And while that is in USD, it is not the same, but not that very different, in Canadian, Australian or New Zealand dollars. Besides, a lot of money is a lot in any currency.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

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    • #2411088

      From a message circulated by the Director of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center– where some of the main components of the telescope, in this case the main mirror, have been developed, on the probable deployment (unfolding) of the James Webb main mirror this Saturday (i.e. today, to some of you):

      ” […] a commissioning milestone is scheduled to take place this Saturday, Jan. 8, as the primary mirror – which was largely developed at Goddard – is deployed. As with all things in the space business, the schedule may be subject to change, but coverage is expected to begin shortly after 9 a.m.” (EST)

      If it takes place, you can watch the deployment here:

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

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    • #2411206

      And now it is done:

      Today the James Webb gold-plated main mirror was successfully deployed by rotating the sides, that were folded in over its central part, each outwards by 90 degrees.

      Now what remains ahead is to keep it in track to is destination and check and re-calibrate, if necessary, the ancillary instruments after the violent rigors of the launch, including those that shall keep the telescope pointed towards chosen portions of the sky. Also to let the telescope working parts cool gradually to a temperature colder than that of liquid nitrogen, because it is designed to study the Universe in the infrared, that is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum corresponding to radiated heat. So a hotter telescope would produce unacceptable levels of the same kind of radiation that would interfere with the signals from stars and galaxies; unlike in the case of the Hubble, that works well even at comfortable room temperature, same as any other optical telescope.

      These preparations shall take about five or six months, before the telescope can be used to start making observations, first of all to check it is working properly: what is known as “first light.”

      In the case of the Hubble, “first light” showed that it had a bad case of myopia, because the curvature of the mirror was wrong. So it took an epic Space Shuttle mission, costing close to a cool billion dollars, to insert “glasses” to correct its vision.

      Now days there is neither shuttle, nor is the James Webb in a low orbit and relatively easy to reach, like the Hubble, so unless some kind of daring crewed or else fully robotic mission can be put in place to go to where this one will be staying, a million kilometers from Earth, the wonderful technological endeavor to build and finally deploy it would have been for nothing. So all possible measures were taken, before launch, to make sure that such a rescue mission is not going to be necessary, assuming it will be possible. So, as with all endeavors of mere mortals, being lucky with this one is a must.

      This article gives a fairly comprehensive coverage of the James Webb mission: its purpose, steps already taken successfully, such as its construction, launch and full deployment, and what still lies ahead before this telescope is operational and can be used to explore the Cosmos like never before with a telescope:

      https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-59914936

      Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Big Sur 11.6 & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

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    • #2412350

      The real reason for the mirror.
      https://xkcd.com/2564/

      cheers, Paul

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