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James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) - Changing our view of the Universe

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) - Changing our view of the Universe

This amazing instrument has only been in service for a short time but it's already changing our view of the Universe.


The secret is how it sees. It does not detect visible light, instead it sees the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The electromagnetic spectrum is broad, ranging from ultra short wavelengh Gamma Rays to the very long wavelength Radio waves. The human eye can only see a tiny sliver of this range, and that is of course called the visible spectrum.

But what about the rest, the vast majority of the spectrum?

The JWST cannot detect the whole spectrum but it's designed to detect the infrared section.

Infrared is important because light gets stretched as it travels through space. That means its wavelengh gets longer. Light from distant galaxies is stretched enough that its wavelength moves into the infrared part of the spectrum.

Perhaps the most amazing discovery so far is what it sees when it looks at a completely empty part of the sky. Empty of course means there is nothing there that we can see with the human eye. There is nothing in the visible spectrum, so what does the JWST see?

It sees a massive number of Galaxies!!!!!!

The pictures we see from the telescope have been generated by computer, which maps the JWST infrared data to the visible spectrum. That's just for our benefit. Scientists analyze the raw infrared data and will be doing that for decades.

It will change our view of the universe forever.

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Content written and posted by Ken Abbott
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