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article imageJames Webb telescope set to replace Hubble

By Tim Sandle     Apr 26, 2016 in Science
Houston - NASA has revealed details of the main mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope. The telescope is set to be launched in 2018 and it will be bigger and more powerful than Hubble.
The new telescope is so powerful it can, in theory, detect the light from the first stars to shine in the universe. This is possible thanks to the telescope's very large mirror. The mirror will have a width of 6.5 meters, making it seven times more powerful than Hubble's ability to collect light.
Comparing the size of the James Webb Space Telescope due for launch in 2018 with the Hubble Space Te...
Comparing the size of the James Webb Space Telescope due for launch in 2018 with the Hubble Space Telescope
Wikimedia Commons - Bobarino
Launched into a low Earth orbit in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has revolutionized scientific understanding of the cosmos, capturing images impossible with previous technology and Earth-bound telescopes. Hubble's primary instruments observe in the near ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared spectra. Probably the most important contribution that Hubble has made is with accurately determining the rate of expansion of the universe.
The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to launch in October 2018. The telescope will offer unprecedented resolution and excellent sensitivity, from long-wavelength (orange-red) visible light, through near-infrared to the mid-infrared. The primary mission is to picture the very first stars, the epoch of reionization, and the formation of the first galaxies, located over over 13 billion light-years away.
This week the launch took a step closer after the giant mirror was installed within the telescope structure. The mirror is actually a series of mirrors: 18 hexagonally shaped segments composed of ultra-lightweight beryllium.
The telescope cost $8.8 billion to construct. It remains on track for launch atop a European Ariane 5 rocket in October 2018.
In related news, showing there is plenty of life left in the Hubble telescope, the orbiting device has recently captured images of the mysterious Red Rectangle Nebula, a cosmic cloud of bizarre shape and striking color. So clear are the images that scientists now report the nebula is not, despite being considered so over 30 years, rectangular but in fact X-shaped. Astrophysicists now hope to find out what gives the nebula its red color.
More about James Webb telescope, Telescope, Hubble, Astronomy
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