• We’re tracking the telescope this year!

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    #2407525

    Looks like rather than tracking Santa, we’ll be tracking the launch of the telescope on Christmas day. NASA Webb Telescope on Twitter: “Due to adverse
    [See the full post at: We’re tracking the telescope this year!]

    Susan Bradley Patch Lady

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    • #2407526

      If you are up right and early on Christmas Day to see what is waiting for you under the Christmas tree, you might as well turn the on the TV or laptop, or smart phone, tablet, whatever you fancy, and watch this:

      https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-sets-coverage-invites-public-to-view-webb-telescope-launch

      Live launch coverage in English will begin at 6 a.m. on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. The public can also watch live on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, and Daily Motion. NASA also will offer a launch broadcast in Spanish beginning at 6:30 a.m. on the agency’s Spanish-language social media accounts and online. NASA will hold a prelaunch briefing at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 21, and a postlaunch news conference approximately 30 minutes after the live launch broadcast ends on Saturday, Dec. 25.

      Presumably there will be a way to watch this later that day, or even at a later day, probably in YouTube and a few other places.

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

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

    • #2408204

      Tracking Santa

    • #2408212

      ? says:

      official NASA launch countdown clock:

      https://jwst.nasa.gov/content/webbLaunch/countdown.html

      currently on schedule for Christmas morning lift off…

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    • #2408347

      The James Webb launched without problems early today and is already in the trajectory that will take it to a point beyond the Moon where the gravitational attractions of the Sun and Earth cancel out the centrifugal force along the once-per-year rotating line defined by the centers of the Sun and the Earth. There it will remain for the rest of its mission, collecting data with its very large, 21 feet (6.5 m) in diameter parabolic reflector, from farthest away and with greatest detail than has been possible with any space telescope until now:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Webb_Space_Telescope

      Actual launch and orbit acquisition from about 1:21 to 1:53 hours into the video:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nT7JGZMbtM

      The James Webb Space Telescope will be 100 times as powerful as the Hubble and it will observe in the infrared, below the frequency of the optical range that is visible to us. Infrared light can pass through most of the dust clouds that blanket interstellar space, allowing the unimpeded and clear observation of both near and distant stars and galaxies, including our own, in unprecedented detail. It will be powerful enough to analyze the light passing through the atmospheres of the planets of other stars, looking for gases that are related to the presence of life, among many other things.

      The point of null gravity, known as the Lagrange Point 2, or L2 point, is some million kilometers from Earth, beyond the Moon’s orbit, and would move in sync with the Earth around the Sun, with a period of one year, same as Earth’s. At the same time, the Webb is going to be orbiting the null gravity point L2 in an elliptical orbit known as a “halo orbit”, where in a neighborhood that extends for several thousand kilometers around of L2, the combined gravitational force  of Sun and Earth and the centrifugal force of the once-a-year near circular trajectory around the Sun points towards this point and increases with distance from it, while the other centrifugal force in play, around the elliptical orbit trajectory, points in the opposite direction and the halo orbit is where all these forces balance, so the telescope keeps its distance within desired bounds from the L2 point and from Earth.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagrange_point

      This launch today is the first big part of the mission, and also the first successfully completed of several nerve-raking phases: getting to it final destination, unfolding itself from its tightly folded launch configuration to its working configuration, the deployment and testing of the optical system and the computer system controlling this and the spacecraft, crowned by ground control receiving the first good quality telescopic images of stars and galaxies, or “first light.” All this will take until next summer before, with plenty of luck, this priceless instrument (and already costing over US$ 10,000,000,000 in cold cash) that has taken close to one quarter of a century to become reality, from initial back-of-the-envelope scribblings to its launch today, is expected to start its mission proper, observing the sky beyond and providing clues to a number of still unresolved questions on the nature of the Universe, and prompting the asking of new ones.

      This joint project of NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency, if successful, shall be a precious gift to humanity’s profound and noble curiosity about the great mysteries of material reality: to that of those of us who are alive now, and to that of those who shall be after us, for generations to come.

      Godspeed!

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

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

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    • #2408481

      this is going to be so awesome i am 64 and been waiting for years for a hubble(awesome) replacement i am waiting to find out more and this news letter has got it all thank you susan

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    • #2408515

      Stellarium 0.21.3

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    • #2420826

      ? says:

      less than 100 miles left to make L2:

      https://www.jwst.nasa.gov/content/webbLaunch/whereIsWebb.html

      907,500 miles travelled in 30 days…

      • #2420909

        And now the same NASA site is showing that the Webb has reached L2!

        It does not say there if it is already in its stable halo orbit, or not around this imaginary point where the gravity of the Earth and the Sun balance with the centrifugal force on the point as it turns around the Sun in its one-year orbit, so the Webb will stay always in the same place as seen from Earth. A place where it will remain for at least as long as it is working, years into the future. But if it is not already in its exact appointed orbit, soon it should be there with a minor maneuver, using its own propulsion means.

        So this is big news, as a trip such as the one from Kourou, in French Guiana, to L2 in outer space to a place much farther away than the Moon, is not something to feel good about while it is in progress.

        I’ll keep watching the same site, to see how it goes from now until, with any luck, the Webb makes its first test observation or, in a rare example of poetical technical jargon, “sees first light” sometime during this northern summer.

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

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

    • #2420957

      And the Webb has now been placed in its intended orbit around L2!

      Excerpts From Joel Achenbach’s article in today’s Washington Post. Emphasis is mine:

      NASA’s revolutionary James Webb Space Telescope on Monday fired its thrusters for five minutes and reached its final destination, a special orbit around the sun where it will spend the rest of its life scrutinizing the universe and capturing light emitted soon after the big bang.

      The telescope has been cruising through space for a month since its Christmas launch from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana. The final course correction, the third engine burn since launch, placed the Webb in a gravitationally stable position known as L2, where it will always be roughly 1 million miles from Earth on the opposite side of our planet from the sun.

      A NASA representative said the engine burn ended at 2:05 p.m. and worked as planned.

      Beyond the fact that the telescope seems to have followed commands from mission controllers to a T, the launch itself and two subsequent engine burns were so efficient that the Webb did not expend very much fuel to get where it is going. The extra fuel will prolong the lifetime of the telescope by years, well beyond its official 10-year target.

      We doubled the mission life. The budget was for 10 years. With this new estimate, we’re about 20-plus years,” Durning [NASA’s Deputy Manager for the Webb] said.

      “The bulk of the single point failures have been retired but some remain,” [Michael] Turner [University of Chicago’s Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics] wrote. “It looks like a real telescope, but has to be aligned. Science wouldn’t start until the next five months of commissioning are done. But we are doing it, we being the human race.”

      Not only do the mirrors have to be aligned, but the scientific instruments that will study the captured light must also be cooled, calibrated and checked out, said Heidi Hammel, a planetary astronomer and vice president of science at the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy. She does not expect the telescope to be able to perform scientific observations until June or July.

      But no one wants to rush the process, she said.

      “NASA takes the time to get these things right. For these big programs, like the Mars lander and the James Webb Space Telescope, we don’t really have an option to let it fail,” Hammel said.

      If any of this looks simple or automatic, that’s a mistaken impression, she said.

      “It took 20 years of work to make it look easy,” she said.”

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

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2424761

      The James Webb infrared telescope, already at its appointed place more than one million miles away from Earth in the direction away from the Sun, is being made ready to start working (sometime this summer) and for that astronomers are radioing it commands telling to begin taking some test pictures:

      https://www.npr.org/2022/02/11/1080085026/the-first-images-from-nasas-new-space-telescope-show-how-its-coming-into-focus

      They may not look like much, but are proof that things are working as well as expected at this preliminary phase of aligning the various pieces the main mirror is made of, so unlike right now, they put their images of a star correctly together as a single star, at a common focal point, by forming a seamless single very large mirror.

      Excerpt:

      NASA unveiled a mosaic of the first images captured by the revolutionary James Webb Space Telescope, or JWST, today. The image represents the early stages of the telescope’s 18 main mirror segments properly aligning before JWST reaches its full potential.

      The image is blurry, but this is actually a good starting point in the long process of adjusting JWST’s mirrors to take ultra-sharp photos of the distant Universe. The 18 points of light that appear in the image all represent the same isolated star, known as HD 84406, seen by a different primary mirror segment. Light collected from each primary mirror segment was reflected back to Webb’s secondary mirror, then measured using one of the telescope’s key imaging instruments, the Near Infrared Camera, or NIRCam. This sensor will be used throughout the telescope’s alignment process to determine and correct any optical errors.

      The process of collecting the light used to generate the image mosaic took about 25 hours, according to NASA. The 18 images of HD 84406 were pieced together from more than 1,500 images collected as Webb was pointed to various positions around the expected location of the star. The mirror will begin to align correctly following the various adjustments that the telescope will make over the coming months. Ultimately, those 18 stars will become one as all of the mirror segments are aligned to create a seamless surface.

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

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

    • #2445652

      It’s taken its time, first the long journey to its current location, one million kilometers farther away than the Moon in a direction opposite to that to the Sun. Then, the long months calibrating and adjusting the optics.

      And now, finally, the Webb space telescope is ready to be used, delivering images of extraordinary clarity, particularly when compared with the previous largest NASA infrared telescope, the Spitzer, thanks to its much larger mirror and that its optical sensitivity is centered at a higher frequency, with shorter wavelengths.
      The size of the mirror and the shortest wavelength of the signal determine the resolution of a telescope, particularly an infrared one: the closest two things can be together to be seen as separate instead of as a single blurry thing.

      Now that the telescope full-functionality has been established, the first observations made for astronomical studies, as planned, will begin in July.

      https://apnews.com/article/science-business-galaxies-ebad0bf8bbe27f6937640cef45fc023b

      To all those who have made this possible, and to he astronomers that are going to use it to explore the Universe not just in space, but also in time to closer than ever before to the Big Bang:

      Good work and good luck!

       

      Two pictures of the same galaxy and some closer stars, one made with the older Spitzer telescope, the other with the Webb.

      Webb.compared.to_.Spizer

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

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV and Malwarebytes for Macs.

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