After today, the James Webb Telescope will never see direct sunlight again

After today, the James Webb Telescope will never see direct sunlight again

It’s time for the next – very exciting – step: unlocking the sun shield.

It’s been almost a week since then Heaven took over the most powerful observatory ever built. The James Webb Telescope is origami folded to fit an Ariane-5 rocket. And now, as the telescope flies through the vast universe, Are you unfolding more and more parts. Today, the most challenging item is on the agenda: it’s time to launch the solar shield.

But in the past few days, some crosses have already been made. Yesterday, for example, James Webb already stretched his “neck”. This created an opening, so that enough space was now made for the sun shield to fully unfold. In addition, the covers that covered the folded sun shield were successfully removed yesterday.

It would also take some time before the sun shield was fully unfolded. This is because the shield still needs to be pulled tight after being rolled out. This takes some extra time. The sun shield will likely be fully ready on Sunday.

sun shield
This means that part of James Webb will never see direct sunlight again. Because the sun shield divides the web into a “hot side” and a “cold side”.

This is really important. The James Webb Telescope will primarily detect infrared light from very faint and distant objects. And in order to detect those weak signals, the telescope itself would have to be extremely cold. That’s why a 5-layer sunscreen, the size of a tennis court, is made. This shield will protect the telescope from external light and heat sources (such as the Sun, Earth, and Moon) and from heat radiated by the observatory itself. So you can compare this sunscreen a little to an umbrella, which will always be pointed toward the sun to repel heat and light.

The solar shield is being tested on the ground.

5 layers
You might be wondering why the innovative space telescope has 5 layers of sun shield instead of a thick shield. That’s because each successive layer of the sun shield is cooler than the layer below it. The opening between the layers also provides an additional insulation effect. In short, a large, thick solar shield generates much more heat than a five-layered solar shield separated by a vacuum.

Photo: STScI

The shiny silver material of the 5-layer sun shield is an intricate and innovative piece of engineering. The lightweight shield is made of Kapton material, which has high heat resistance. Each layer is also coated with aluminum and has a specific thickness and size. The two hottest layers of the sun-facing side have a type of silicone coating to reflect the sun’s heat back into space. The kite-like shape and number of layers play an important role. In this way, each individual layer is precisely positioned so that the telescope can perform its function as fully as possible.

Teething started. Because nothing should go wrong while casting the sun shield. The sun shield is really important to the telescope’s work. Anyway, the team is well prepared. The steps have been extensively tested and practiced on the ground. However, it is interesting whether the spread of the solar shield in the universe, millions of kilometers from the Earth and without the possibility of interference, will also go according to plan. He follows…

Curious where the telescope is currently located? employment This page You can keep track of exactly where James Webb is and when the parts will be revealed again.

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