A great variety of galaxies in color, morphology, age and inherent stellar populations can be seen in this deep-field Hubble image. James Webb will go even farther. Image credit: NASA, ESA, R. Windhorst, S. Cohen, M. Mechtley, and M. Rutkowski (Arizona State University, Tempe), R. O'Connell (University of Virginia), P. McCarthy (Carnegie Observatories), N. Hathi (University of California, Riverside), R. Ryan (University of California, Davis), H. Yan (Ohio State University), and A. Koekemoer (Space Telescope Science Institute).
“The [James Webb] telescope is basically designed to answer the big questions in astronomy, the questions Hubble can’t answer.” -Amber Straughn
Have you ever asked the biggest questions in the Universe? Questions like how the Universe came to be the way it is today? How the first stars and galaxies — the first light — came to be in the Universe? Whether Earth-sized worlds around red dwarf stars have atmospheres, possibly with signatures of life? And what the Universe was like when the first stars were just forming? The James Webb Space Telescope was designed to answer these questions and more.
An artist’s conception (2015) of what the James Webb Space Telescope will look like when complete and successfully deployed. Note the five-layer sunshield protecting the telescope from the heat of the Sun. Image credit: Northrop Grumman.
Scheduled for launch in October of next year, and right on track, James Webb is poised to revolutionize astronomy with as big a step forward from Hubble as Hubble was from ground-based telescopes. And best of all, scientist Amber Straughn will be giving a free, live-streamed public lecture on it that I’ll be live-blogging today, at 7 PM ET / 4 PM PT.
An illustration of CR7, the first galaxy detected that’s thought to house Population III stars: the first stars ever formed in the Universe. JWST will reveal actual images of this galaxy and others like it. Image credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser.
Watch from anywhere in the world, or catch it at any point afterwards. It’s the future of astronomy, and it’s about to begin!