Planetary Studies: James Webb Space Telescope Science

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We now know of hundreds of planets outside of the solar system, ranging from giant planets with masses much greater than Jupiter’s to worlds only a few times more massive Earth. But where do the planets we know best fit into this menagerie of new worlds? Are there planets like Earth elsewhere in the galaxy? Webb will help astronomers answer these questions.

These videos were developed to highlight the science that will be peformed by the James Webb Space Telescope.

More information: http://www.jwst.nasa.gov/videos_science.html

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/technology/features/supercomputer­-preview.html

You can download this video: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/a010600/a010689/index.html

Credit: NASA/GSFC

Comments

Richard Young says:

r we alone ? yes for now wan well see more ?

Geoff Harestad says:

We seem to be ONLY analyzing the nature of matter and cubic area around us, but NOT long distance space travel, the key discovery that makes the infinite volumetric area out from us 'intriguing'. To keep looking up and saying 'yes, carbon and hydrogen' and fanciful statements about super gravity and dark matter is cute only to a point. Then we are left with 'we must discover flight again'. So lets get to it! Nasa, are you listening? Do you want to keep being funded? *Seeminglyimpossible or not, put some of these engineers on meaningful space travel. Avatar movies in story land isn't cutting it. Now that it's apparent to all but the simplest dimwit that there are hundreds of thousands of planets in the Milky Way with a high ESI, we'll be wanting to know a way to get to them. Mars is not it, either! 🙂 No 'right next to us' destinations, please. No more telescopes or radioscopes or spectrometers. No more looking only and theorizing. Time to go exploring again.

Kingsley asumdu says:

I find this to be an ultimate learning medium.

AlexN5142 says:

Cool! I didn't realize that technology was already in use with success. What kind of limits does it have on the size of meteoroid that can impact the mirror without affecting it? Also, how does the image processing work to convert the infrared images into visible images?

B4TT3RY says:

Bright clouds didnt "suddenly materialize" on Uranus. This comment is misleading. The newfound bright clouds are a result of infrared imaging, something that went unseen with voyager.

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) says:

The beauty of an astronomical image depends on two things: the resolution on the sky and the number of pixels in the camera. On both of these counts, Webb is very similar to Hubble. (Actually Webb will have double the pixels.) Webb images will be infrared but this can be translated by computer into a visible light picture. Webb images will be different, but just as beautiful as Hubble's.

seelad says:

I like the thought of a newer telescope entering space. It's my understanding they scrapped visible light and went with just the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. I can see this done because infrared obviously picks up more. But I'll miss the nice colourful pictures we get of galaxies and such.

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) says:

We tested beryllium discs for micrometeoroids using test facilities in the US and showed the micrometeoroids have negligible effects on the beryllium. Cryogenic beryllium mirrors have been flown in space exposed to micrometeoroids without problems. The Spitzer Space Telescope, launched in 2003, has a beryllium primary mirror. All of Webb's systems are designed to survive micrometeoroid impacts.

AlexN5142 says:

does it seem like a bad idea to anybody else to have the primary mirror so exposed like that? i mean, theres a lot of dust and debris orbiting earth. one stray dust particle and all that hard work perfecting that mirror goes to waste…

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) says:

Kepler is designed to be a "wide and shallow" survey telescope, while Webb is designed for "narrow and deep" focused studies with near and mid-IR imaging and spectroscopy.

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) says:

In answering this question, Kepler is generating a large database of confirmed transiting planets together with some of their basic properties. Once we have found these planets, we need the tools to study their physical properties and the composition of their atmospheres. It is Webb that provides the specialized tools to undertake these studies.

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) says:

@Helge129 The Kepler mission is designed to answer a simple question. What fraction of stars have terrestrial planets located in or near the habitable zone? The habitable zone is the region around a star where water can exist on a planet in liquid form. Kepler seeks to answer this question by staring at a small region of the sky containing more than 100,000 stars for 3.5 years or more to look for transiting terrestrial planets, and thus determine what fraction of stars have terrestrial planets.

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