January 20, 2022
2 mins read

James Webb telescope near to reach its final location

high angle view of a man
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The James Webb Space Telescope is about to reach its final location, near the second Lagrange point (L2)of the Earth-Sun system, which lies 1,500,000 kilometers (930,000 mi) from Earth. The  James Webb Space Telescope is a space observatory developed through the collaboration of twenty countries, built and operated jointly by  NASA,the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency,and will serve as a replacement for the Hubble and Spitzer    telescopes. . The telescope will offer unprecedented resolution and sensitivity and enable a wide range of research in the fields of astronomy and cosmology.

Although the Webb telescope will focus on stars and galaxies about 13.5 billion light-years away. In orbit at Earth’s second Lagrange point (L2), and you will be away from the help of an earth’s optical surgeon. Webb will use its near-infrared camera instrument (NIRCam) to help align its primary mirror segments about 40 days after launch once they have been deployed from their non-aligned retracted position.

How to know where the James Webb telescope is located

The telescope has been completing the activation of its systems on its way to its final location. The espejos, 18 in total, will move until reaching their final configuration. The next step in the wavefront process will be to move mirrors in the micron and nanometer ranges to reach the final optical positions for an aligned telescope. The telescope’s alignment process will take approximately three months. NASA has  a website to see in real time where the telescope is located.

James Webb telescopio telescope
Figure 1. Where is the James Webb telescope

This data-driven infographic shows Webb’s status on its journey to the L2 orbit. The page is constantly updated as Webb travels, deploys, and cools to operating temperature. If you have any problems with the page, hold down the CTRL or CMD key and press the F5 key, which will reload the page and should fix any problems. (cntl/cmd shift R also works).

Passing the moon

Webb launched on the side of the Earth that faces the sun and travels on a slightly curved trajectory, so Webb’s “distance traveled” is greater than his altitude. Webb passing the altitude of the Moon is a good example of the difference, when Webb reached the altitude (a) of the Moon at the time of launch + ~2.5 days, Webb had already traveled a distance (d) greater than the altitude of the moon.

Temperature control is a vital aspect of Webb’s design, engineering, and operations. Of the many temperature monitoring points at the observatory, this page shows 2 temperatures from the “hot side” and 2 from the “cold side” which are a good indication of the status and general trends of temperature.

Video of the telescope panels of James Webb

This video is in the public domain and, along with other supporting visualizations, can be downloaded from Scientific Visualization Studio at: https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/12753.

You can find the launch video here:

References

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Avelino Dominguez

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