So, as many of you already know, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launched a couple weeks ago. Now that might not seem like such a crazy thing, but it most definitely is. This telescope is the most complex telescope humankind has produced to date, it has the ability (hopefully) to see the first light emitted from the Big Bang 13 billion years ago. Now that fact is confusing to some, how can we see back in time? Well, basically, light has a speed of 299 792 458 m / s to be exact (approximately 670616629 mph). We measure this in terms of distance, as lightyears. Say a super bright lightbulb is turned on somewhere ten light-years from earth, it would take ten years for the light to reach us so that we could see it. Now if we take that principle and scale it up, the further we look, the longer it’s taking for us to see that light, so if we look at something 13 billion lightyears away, then we are seeing 13 billion years in the past, and since the universe is constantly expanding finding something 13 billion lightyears away is not very difficult. Anyway back to JWST, it will be in an orbit we have called “L2” which is just behind the Earth so it will constantly be in Earth’s shadow, it will be 1.5 million km (1 million miles) from the earth, which is far past the moon. From that orbit, it will take pictures. A lot of pictures. Of course, our time with the JWST is limited so NASA has allocated certain hours for researchers for an approved project. This telescope will bring in a new era of research, we may learn the origins of the universe, and if not we will still learn so many things from this telescope. Things like planets with potential life, we will learn about the formation of galaxies, and many many more things. I am excited to see the pictures this incredible telescope will take.
Photo credit: Space. Com