It is time to rejoice because after years of delays and billions of dollars in overruns, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is finally complete.
The new primary mirror of the space telescope, which is the biggest one ever built, was unveiled yesterday at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. The mirror is measuring 6.5 meters with its 18 gold-plated hexagonal mirrors. It is going to have 100 times the observing power of the Hubble telescope.
This week was also the time when the tennis-court-sized sunshield was announced to be under construction. Its primary role will be to protect the telescope’s optics from the sun’s ray. After testing, the mirror and the sunshield will be integrated together.
After the completion, the Webb will be the most complex and largest space observatory that was ever built, according to the NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden.
This telescope, will without a doubt, capture the dreams and imagination of millions who look up in the sky and wonder.
The telescope is going to be launched in October 2018 and it is going to be positioned beyond the orbit of the moon and it will return stunning views of the universe.
The telescope is billed the successor to Hubble, but it is going to be different since it is going to observe the universe in infrared, unlike Hubble that observed the universe in visible. But the size of the Webb will result in wider images of galaxies, stars and exo-planets.
The infrared capabilities of the telescope will allow it to peer through cosmic dust, thus providing clearer images of planetary systems and galaxies and the 18 mirrors will work together to capture these incredible views.
The Webb telescope was originally projected in 2011 at a cost of $1 billion. However there had been various delays that set the spiral to $8.7 billion with a launch 7 years after the original one.
In addition to its construction being finished, the Webb passed the tests for the optics and now there are a few more tests to be passed including the pressures of launching.
The telescope has been under construction for more than 20 years but finally we’re one step closer to witnessing it’s amazing power put to use.