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NASA Readies James Webb Space Telescope for December Launch


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    • By NASA
      Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during an Apollo 11 moonwalk on July 20, 1969. The Lunar Module is on the left, and the footprints of the astronauts are clearly visible in the soil of the moon.Credit: NASA As the agency explores more of the Moon than ever before under the Artemis campaign, NASA will celebrate the 55th anniversary of the first astronauts landing on the Moon through a variety of in-person, virtual, and engagement activities nationwide between Monday, July 15, and Thursday, July 25.
      Events will honor America’s vision and technology that enabled the Apollo 11 crewed lunar landing on July 20, 1969, as well as Apollo-era inventions and techniques that spread into public life, many of which are still in use today. Activities also will highlight NASA’s Artemis campaign, which includes landing the first woman, first person of color, and first international astronaut on the Moon, inspiring great achievements, exploration, and scientific discovery for the benefit of all.
      NASA’s subject matter experts are available for a limited number of interviews about the anniversary. To request an interview virtually or in person, contact Jessica Taveau in the newsroom: jessica.c.taveau@nasa.gov.
      During the week of July 15, the agency also will share the iconic bootprint image and the significance of Apollo 11 to NASA’s mission, as well as use the #Apollo11 hashtag, across its digital platforms online.
      Additional activities from NASA include:
      Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 16, NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana: NASA will host the rollout of the agency’s Artemis II SLS (Space Launch System) core stage. Friday, July 19, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston: In a dedication and ribbon cutting, the center will name its building 12 the ‘Dorothy Vaughan Center in Honor of the Women of Apollo.’ Vaughan was a mathematician, computer programmer, and NASA’s first Black manager. Sunday, July 21, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland: NASA Goddard will host a model rocket contest conducted by the National Association of Rocketry Headquarters Astro Modeling Section. This free contest is open to all model rocketeers and the public.  Other activities include:
      Tuesday, July 16 through Wednesday, July 24, Space Center Houston: The center will host pop-up science labs, mission briefings, special tram tours that feature the Mission Control Center at NASA Johnson, and more. Friday, July 19 through Saturday, July 20, National Cathedral in Washington: The cathedral will host a festival marking the 50th anniversary of its Space Window, which contains a piece of lunar rock that was donated by NASA and the crew of Apollo 11. Thursday, July 25, San Diego Comic-Con: NASA representatives will participate in a panel entitled ‘Exploring the Moon: the Artemis Generation.’ Panelists are:Stan Love, NASA astronaut A.C. Charania, NASA chief technologist Dionne Hernandez-Lugo, NASA’s Gateway Program Jackelynne Silva-Martinez, NASA Human Health and Performance For more details about NASA’s Apollo Program, please visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/the-apollo-program
      -end-
      Cheryl Warner / Jessica Taveau
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-356-1600
      cheryl.m.warner@nasa.gov / jessica.c.taveau@nasa.gov
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      Last Updated Jul 12, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      Apollo 11 Artemis View the full article
    • By NASA
      The distorted spiral galaxy at center, the Penguin, and the compact elliptical at left, the Egg, are locked in an active embrace. This near- and mid-infrared image combines data from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) and MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument), and marks the telescope’s second year of science. Webb’s view shows that their interaction is marked by a glow of scattered stars represented in blue. Known jointly as Arp 142, the galaxies made their first pass by one another between 25 and 75 million years ago, causing “fireworks,” or new star formation, in the Penguin. The galaxies are approximately the same mass, which is why one hasn’t consumed the other.NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI To celebrate the second science anniversary of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the team has released a near- and mid-infrared image on July 12, 2024, of two interacting galaxies: The Penguin and the Egg.
      Webb specializes in capturing infrared light – which is beyond what our own eyes can see – allowing us to view and study these two galaxies, collectively known as Arp 142. Their ongoing interaction was set in motion between 25 and 75 million years ago, when the Penguin (individually cataloged as NGC 2936) and the Egg (NGC 2937) completed their first pass. They will go on to shimmy and sway, completing several additional loops before merging into a single galaxy hundreds of millions of years from now.
      Learn more about the Penguin and the Egg.
      Image Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI
      Text Credit: NASA Webb Mission Team
      View the full article
    • By Space Force
      Air Marshal Paul Godfrey took the position June 17 and will serve the U.S. Space Force as assistant chief of Space Operations for Future Concepts and Partnerships after three years as the first commander of the U.K. Space Command.

      View the full article
    • By European Space Agency
      A duo of interacting galaxies known as Arp 142 commemorates the second science anniversary of the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope. Their ongoing interaction was set in motion between 25 and 75 million years ago, when the Penguin (individually catalogued as NGC 2936) and the Egg (NGC 2937) completed their first pass. They will go on to shimmy and sway, completing several additional loops before merging into a single galaxy hundreds of millions of years from now.
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      6 Min Read Vivid Portrait of Interacting Galaxies Marks Webb’s Second Anniversary
      Webb’s view of the interacting galaxies of Arp 142 that combines Webb’s NIRCam and MIRI instrument images. Full image below. Two for two! A duo of interacting galaxies commemorates the second science anniversary of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which takes constant observations, including images and highly detailed data known as spectra. Its operations have led to a “parade” of discoveries by astronomers around the world.
      “Since President Biden and Vice President Harris unveiled the first image from the James Webb Space Telescope two years ago, Webb has continued to unlock the mysteries of the universe,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “With remarkable images from the corners of the cosmos, going back nearly to the beginning of time, Webb’s capabilities are shedding new light on our celestial surroundings and inspiring future generations of scientists, astronomers, and explorers.”
      “In just two years, Webb has transformed our view of the universe, enabling the kind of world-class science that drove NASA to make this mission a reality,” said Mark Clampin, director of the Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Webb is providing insights into longstanding mysteries about the early universe and ushering in a new era of studying distant worlds, while returning images that inspire people around the world and posing exciting new questions to answer. It has never been more possible to explore every facet of the universe.”
      The telescope’s specialization in capturing infrared light — which is beyond what our own eyes can detect — shows these galaxies, collectively known as Arp 142, locked in a slow cosmic dance. Webb’s observations, which combine near- and mid-infrared light from Webb’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) and MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument), respectively, clearly show that they are joined by a haze represented in blue that is a mix of stars and gas, a result of their mingling.
      Their ongoing interaction was set in motion between 25 and 75 million years ago, when the Penguin (individually cataloged as NGC 2936) and the Egg (NGC 2937) completed their first pass. They will go on to shimmy and sway, completing several additional loops before merging into a single galaxy hundreds of millions of years from now.
      Image A: Interacting Galaxies Arp 142 (NIRCam and MIRI)
      The distorted spiral galaxy at center, the Penguin, and the compact elliptical at left, the Egg, are locked in an active embrace. This near- and mid-infrared image combines data from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) and MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument), and marks the telescope’s second year of science. Webb’s view shows that their interaction is marked by a glow of scattered stars represented in blue. Known jointly as Arp 142, the galaxies made their first pass by one another between 25 and 75 million years ago, causing “fireworks,” or new star formation, in the Penguin. The galaxies are approximately the same mass, which is why one hasn’t consumed the other. Let’s Dance!
      Before their first approach, the Penguin held the shape of a spiral. Today, its galactic center gleams like an eye, its unwound arms now shaping a beak, head, backbone, and fanned-out tail.
      Like all spiral galaxies, the Penguin is still very rich in gas and dust. The galaxies’ “dance” gravitationally pulled on the Penguin’s thinner areas of gas and dust, causing them to crash in waves and form stars. Look for those areas in two places: what looks like a fish in its “beak” and the “feathers” in its “tail.”
      Surrounding these newer stars is smoke-like material that includes carbon-containing molecules, known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which Webb is exceptional at detecting. Dust, seen as fainter, deeper orange arcs also swoops from its beak to tail feathers.
      In contrast, the Egg’s compact shape remains largely unchanged. As an elliptical galaxy, it is filled with aging stars, and has a lot less gas and dust that can be pulled away to form new stars. If both were spiral galaxies, each would end the first “twist” with new star formation and twirling curls, known as tidal tails.
      Another reason for the Egg’s undisturbed appearance: These galaxies have approximately the same mass or heft, which is why the smaller-looking elliptical wasn’t consumed or distorted by the Penguin.
      It is estimated that the Penguin and the Egg are about 100,000 light-years apart — quite close in astronomical terms. For context, the Milky Way galaxy and our nearest neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, are about 2.5 million light-years apart. They too will interact, but not for about 4 billion years.
      Now, look to the top right to spot a galaxy that is not at this party. This edge-on galaxy, cataloged PGC 1237172, is 100 million light-years closer to Earth. It’s also quite young, teeming with new, blue stars.
      Want one more party trick? Switch to Webb’s mid-infrared-only image to see PGC 1237172 practically disappear. Mid-infrared light largely captures cooler, older stars and an incredible amount of dust. Since the galaxy’s stellar population is so young, it “vanishes” in mid-infrared light.
      Image B: Interacting Galaxies Arp 142 (MIRI Only)
      NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s mid-infrared view of interacting galaxies Arp 142 seems to sing in primary colors. The Egg shows up as a tiny, teal-colored oval, because it is made up of old stars and has lost or used up most of its gas and dust. At right, the Penguin’s star-forming regions are represented in pink and purple, and contain smoke-like material known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Also take a moment to scan the background. Webb’s image is overflowing with distant galaxies. Some take spiral and oval shapes, like those threaded throughout the Penguin’s “tail feathers,” while others scattered throughout are shapeless dots. This is a testament to the sensitivity and resolution of the telescope’s infrared instruments. (Compare Webb’s view to the 2018 observation that combines infrared light from NASA’s retired Spitzer Space Telescope and near-infrared and visible light from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.) Even though these observations only took a few hours, Webb revealed far more distant, redder, and dustier galaxies than previous telescopes – one more reason to expect Webb to continue to expand our understanding of everything in the universe.
      Want more? Take a tour to the image, “fly through” it in a visualization, and compare Webb’s image to the Hubble Space Telescope’s.
      Arp 142 lies 326 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Hydra.
      Video: Tour the Arp 142 Image
      Video tour transcript
      Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Danielle Kirshenblat (STScI) Video: Arp 142 Visualization
      Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Ralf Crawford (STScI), Joseph DePasquale (STScI), Christian Nieves (STScI), Joseph Olmsted (STScI), Alyssa Pagan (STScI), Frank Summers (STScI), Greg Bacon (STScI) Image C: Compare Hubble/Webb
      Image Before/After The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb is solving mysteries in our solar system, looking beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probing the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency).
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      Media Contacts
      Laura Betz – laura.e.betz@nasa.gov, Rob Gutro – rob.gutro@nasa.gov
      NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
      Claire Blome – cblome@stsci.edu Christine Pulliam – cpulliam@stsci.edu
      Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.
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      Interactive: Explore “Interacting Galaxies: Future of the Milky Way” –
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