James Webb: It is just the beginning

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Source: The post is based on an article “James Webb: It is just the beginning” Published in the Business Standard on 15th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 Science and Technology; Space Technology

Relevance: The James Webb Space Telescope

News: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) located some 1.6 million km from Earth has received “deep field” images of the photons of the early formed stars.

These photons have travelled relatively unhindered through the ever-expanding vast and presumably empty open space of the universe for over 13 billion years.

Findings about Planet WASP-96 b

The JWST’s also captured images indicating signs of water, clouds and haze in the atmosphere of WASP-96 b.

The planet is a hot and puffy gas giant planet orbiting a distant Sun-like star. It is located roughly 1,150 light-years away in the constellation Phoenix.

It has a mass less than half that of Jupiter and a diameter 1.2 times greater,

According to Nasa, WASP-96 b is much puffier than any planet orbiting our Sun.

Importance of the discovery

The images give detailed glimpse of the birth of stars/ the beginnings of the universe as well as the deepest looks into the far reaches of outer space in the universe.

It gave a glimpse of what the most distant galaxies would have looked like more than 13.1 billion years ago, less than a billion years after the Big Bang.

Importance of the finding related to Scope of JWST

According to NASA, these observations have demonstrated that the JWST telescope has the unprecedented ability over the Hubble telescope, to do detailed observation of outer space.

About the JWST Programmes

It will

– target exoplanets, comets which are located outside our solar system.

– study the first light in the universe, and also study the first galaxies that formed in the universe

– probe the atmospheres of planets around other stars and so on. Thus will characterise potentially habitable planets beyond Earth.

The JWST’s first deep field images have revealed that it has far more powerful ability than the Hubble’s telescope. The JWST is planned for the next-generation Deep Extragalactic Exploratory Public (DEEP) survey and other programmes

Its programmes will target distant galaxies. This will include giant galaxies, as well as the dwarf galaxies which are far smaller than what Hubble Space Telescope could capture.

It shall identify supermassive black holes that sit at the centre of almost every large galaxy.

It shall observe Mars and the gas giants, dwarf planets like Pluto and Eris, and even smaller bodies in our solar system like asteroids, comets, and Kuiper Belt Objects.

It is also slated to study brown dwarfs and other matters of cosmic evolution.

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