Special Reports

What NASA's James Webb Telescope Is Hopeful To Discover In 2018


In October 2018, NASA will launch its next-generation telescope, the James Webb space telescope whose light gathering power is seven times more powerful than Hubble and three times its resolution. It can also detect wavelengths up to 30,000 nanometers and will measure spectra from everything it focuses its lens on. Given its power, it might be able to see and discover some of the things scientists have theorized about. Here are some of these potential discoveries.

Supermassive black holes that have clues how galaxies were formed

Recently, some astronomers at Cambridge found a unique supermassive black hole, the AGN IRAS 13224−3809, because its outflows can be measured. As reported here recently on University Herald, scientists believe that this black hole might hold the clue to how the galaxies were formed. They hoped to know more about this black hole through the James Webb space telescope.

Scientists believe that there are other black holes in space that predates the formation of the galaxies. According to popular theory, they used to be first-generation stars which merged together and sunk. And these are the ones they hope to discover using the new telescope.

A new habitable planet similar to Earth in size and in atmosphere

Another recent discovery was a new solar system, TRAPPIST-1,  with seven new planets which just a little smaller than the Earth revolving around a dwarf star. Because they are smaller in size than our planet, it is possible to measure their atmospheric content during transit. This will provide clues whether these planets have inhabitants living in them. With the ultra-advanced technology that powers the James Webb space telescope, it is possible to do that.

Ultra-massive stars bigger than what we know

The largest recorded star to date is the Tarantula Nebula, which is around 260 solar masses. There are theories, however, that there are bigger stars than this one which measure 300, 500, and even 1000 solar masses. These are the first stars which, according to study, are made up of pure helium and hydrogen. The James Webb telescope will enable scientists to learn about these stars and understand more how they were formed and how they died.

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