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WORLD'S BIGGEST TELESCOPE: JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE FACTS

WORLD'S BIGGEST TELESCOPE: JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE FACTS
James Webb Space Telescope Sunsheild membrane testing

In order to peer deeper into space and time than any telescope has before, the JWST relies on cutting-edge optical science and engineering, some of which the University of Arizona has developed. 


Facts

  • The mirror on James Webb Space Telescope will be made of beryllium, which is lightweight yet strong, and can withstand very cold temperatures. The JWST has to be kept at about -375 degrees Fahrenheit for its instruments to function properly.
  • The JWST’s mirror is covered in a thin layer of gold, because gold improves the mirror’s reflection of infrared light. Because the gold is pure and soft, it will be shielded by a protective layer of glass.
  • The sunshield on James Webb Space Telescope is 70 feet by 48 feet, or roughly the size of a tennis court.
  • All in all, the JWST will weigh 14,000 pounds, which is about as much as a full-size school bus.
  • From Earth, the JWST will appear more than 10,000 times fainter than the faintest star seen by the naked eye.
  • The JWST will orbit the sun, 940,000 miles away from Earth, four times further away than the moon.
  • To fit on the rocket within its six-and-a-half-ton weight limit, yet maintain the size necessary to perform its observations, the JWST telescope was designed to be lightweight and have a flexible structure. This flexibility makes the telescope susceptible to vibrations whenever it moves, even the tiny movements that keep it pointed.
  • Just as a shaky camera makes for blurry photos, even small tremors interfere with the telescope’s image quality. To keep images in sharp focus, the JWST needs to minimize vibrations.
  • To do this, rubber shock absorbers cushion the tower that holds the primary mirror.

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