The James Webb space telescope

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Hob Nob King
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Oooh, interesting. Thanks for the heads up Mr. H.
 

NabLa

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Very excited about the James Webb. Not only is it orders of magnitude more sensitive than Hubble, but it's also an infrared telescope - a lot of these pesky dust clouds that obscure visible light coming from inside or behind are transparent to infrared.

Let's hope it's right first time though - James Webb orbits the sun directly, not us. It can't get "glasses" like the Hubble did after its launch fiasco.
 

HarryJonesJr

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On the one hand, it admires me as a scientific achievement, and on the other hand, it does not contain any practical benefit for me and my children. Maybe my grandchildren will learn something real about other worlds, but I do not expect to find this during my life.
 

MrHalo

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On the one hand, it admires me as a scientific achievement, and on the other hand, it does not contain any practical benefit for me and my children. Maybe my grandchildren will learn something real about other worlds, but I do not expect to find this during my life.

Well then I'm happy for your Grandchildren
 

Torsion Jim

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On the one hand, it admires me as a scientific achievement, and on the other hand, it does not contain any practical benefit for me and my children. Maybe my grandchildren will learn something real about other worlds, but I do not expect to find this during my life.
The tyranny of pragmatism
 

NabLa

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Actually, we're learning a lot of real stuff about exoplanets. Sizes, orbits, atmosphere compositions, relative abundance of planet types, etc. There's a real chance we could find one some day with tell-tale signs of biology in the atmosphere during our lifetime. James Webb is not a planet finder instrument though, but it might be useful as a targeted tool to find out more about a good candidate. Who knows what it's possible with it.
 

HarryJonesJr

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There's a real chance we could find one some day with tell-tale signs of biology in the atmosphere during our lifetime.
Oh! I would like to see it)) A new planet for those people who do not know how to live in harmony with their own. Sorry, apparently this really looks quite cynical from the outside but humanity has killed its faith in him for me personally.
 

NabLa

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Who knows what sort of alien biology is out there and how toxic or otherwise it'd be to us. If we put aside the small matter of interstellar travel. One possible (?) avenue to reach the stars:

 

MrHalo

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Was thinking to make another thread but it's closely related so I'll stick it in here.

From Wikipedia:
"The Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) is an astronomical observatory currently under construction. When completed, it is planned to be the world's largest optical/near-infrared extremely large telescope. Part of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) agency, it is located on top of Cerro Armazones in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile...

The ELT will search for extrasolar planets – planets orbiting other stars. This will include not only the discovery of planets down to Earth-like masses through indirect measurements of the wobbling motion of stars perturbed by the planets that orbit them, but also the direct imaging of larger planets and possibly even the characterisation of their atmospheres.[55] The telescope will attempt to image Earthlike exoplanets, which may be possible.[1]

Furthermore, the ELT's suite of instruments will allow astronomers to probe the earliest stages of the formation of planetary systems and to detect water and organic molecules in protoplanetary discs around stars in the making. Thus, the ELT will answer fundamental questions regarding planet formation and evolution.[4]

By probing the most distant objects the ELT will provide clues to understanding the formation of the first objects that formed: primordial stars, primordial galaxies and black holes and their relationships. Studies of extreme objects like black holes will benefit from the power of the ELT to gain more insight into time-dependent phenomena linked with the various processes at play around compact objects.[55]

One of the goals of the ELT is the possibility of making a direct measurement of the acceleration of the Universe's expansion. Such a measurement would have a major impact on our understanding of the Universe. The ELT will also search for possible variations in the fundamental physical constants with time. An unambiguous detection of such variations would have far-reaching consequences for our comprehension of the general laws of physics"

Planned to become active in 2027


 
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NabLa

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Looks like both instruments will complement each other. Webb for instance has the advantage of not requiring adaptive optics, which can skew observations but also being able to zero-in a target for a far longer period of time, not being constrained to earth's rotation. On the other hand and by the same reasons, it does have a limited range of motions as it needs to protect itself from the glare and heat of the sun, and the patch of sky it can access at any given time changes slowly over time as it orbits the sun.

Exciting times though. I cross fingers, hands, legs and bollocks that webb doesn't explode in transit or is otherwise damaged by it.
 
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