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The James Webb Space Telescope is the most powerful telescope in the world. The JWST will study the earliest stages of our solar system’s formation, helping us learn more about how planets form and evolve over time. It will help astronomers peer into the farthest reaches of the universe, to identify new sources of cosmic rays, detect waves from extrasolar planets, and more. But it’s not just a pretty telescope — it uses its huge beam of infrared light to tackle some of astronomy’s most difficult problems. That makes it one of the best choices for astronomy buffs who want to protect their eyes from harmful radiation.

What type of radiation does the James Webb Space Telescope use?

The JWST uses a unique, high-quality infrared light to make its measurements. When a star passes in front of the telescope, the light from that star is bent by the Earth’s atmosphere and directed back toward space. This light is then detected by the telescope, which sends the information to researchers working with data analysis software. The infrared light from the JWST is about three times more powerful than the visible light from the telescope, making it ideal for delicate tasks like measuring the temperature of objects as small as asteroids or planets across from our sun.

What does it see?

The JWST will look in the infrared part of the spectrum, which extends from 0 to 70 degrees Celsius (32 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit). Hot objects like comets and asteroids will appear red, and the coldest objects in space, like Neptune, will be white. The JWST will photograph these objects in real time, in order to create a 3D model of them. The infrared camera on the JWST is equipped with special filters that allow it to see a greater range of wavelengths and frequencies than other telescopes, allowing it to pick up more information about a target object.

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Which telescope is the most sensitive to infrared light?

The JWST is more sensitive to the infrared than the visible light coming from the telescope. That means it will notice objects that the visible light can’t see, like asteroids and other small asteroids that are too far away to reach Earth with a trip to the moon. It will also see warm bodies in the asteroid belt, like Jupiter’sbiggest asteroid, which is named Deimos, because it appears in the infrared.

How do astronomers secure their measurements from the JWST?

When scientists want to protect their measurements from the harmful effects of infrared radiation, they turn to the best in the world: the thermal shield. This floor-to-ceiling shield will absorb the infrared light from the JWST and send it back out through a pipe to the ground-based Optical Interferometer. The two telescopes will be looking into each other’s eyes, so they won’t be able to see but will still get their blocks of ice in front of them.

The James Webb Space Telescope’s main mirror

The JWST main mirror is made of optical glass. It has a large surface area and is coated with a special anti-reflective material to keep it from bending back into the telescope. The mirror is 12.8 meters (41.8 feet) in diameter, which is about the size of a football field. Because it is made of glass, the mirror is not perfectly flat. It has a slight curve, meaning it will reflect only about 60% of the light that hits it. The mirror is shaped so that it becomes a perfect sphere when the JWST is in operation, aiming it straight into the infrared light from the heavens.

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Other telescopes that can see infrared light

There are other telescopes that can see in the infrared, but they are much less sensitive and don’t offer the same level of resolution as the JWST. These include the Large Optical/Infrared telescopes at the Observatory of the northern hemisphere and the South telescope of the Australasian synoptic Survey at the same location. If you want to protect your eyes from the infrared portion of the spectrum, you could also view these from the ground or from space.

Conclusion

The James Webb Space Telescope is the most powerful telescope in the world. The JWST will study the earliest stages of our solar system’s formation, helping us learn more about how planets form and evolve over time. It will help astronomers peer into the farthest reaches of the universe, to identify new sources of cosmic rays, detect waves from extrasolar planets, and more. But it’s not just a pretty telescope — it uses its huge beam to tackle some of astronomy’s most difficult problems. That makes it one of the best choices for astronomy buffs who want to protect their eyes from harmful radiation.

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