Why infrared used in JWST?

Use of infrared technology in JWST


When you look at the sky you can nearly see a tiny little fraction of the whole universe. In our universe septillion stars out there and it's obvious to notice them harder to you, not even you but for the astronomers also. That’s why scientists have designed the James Webb Space Telescope or JWST to make these things a lot easier. It is designed to scale our viewing length using infrared light observation. It will be able to travel back to the past and will bring the past pictures of the planets around 13 billion years before just the beginning of our universe.

What is infrared light?

Infrared light is an energy that radiates almost from every object in our universe. Well, it is a kind of energy that we can't see but we can feel in the form of heat. It lies on the right side of the visible light section in the electromagnetic spectrum as a longer wavelength. 

You already have seen some usage of infrared light while using remotes, and also during the covid period, you went through the thermal guns for measuring body temperature. But in the field of astronomy infrared is used to see the universe, revealing the mystery, exploring the unknown.

At the beginning of the universe, everything was closer to each other and by the time it started expanding, just after the creation of the universe it is expanding at a constant rate. Galaxies, stars, planets are continually expanding their shape, size, the distance between each other. As light travels through the continued expanding universe, its wavelength gets stretched longer.


Image Source - Google | Image by - wikimedia

Our human eyes can see some of these wavelengths which are lies in the visible light region. The region of the electromagnetic spectrum the human eye can see is called the "window of visibility". Stretched wavelengths which are falling right side of the window of visibility, are not possible to see via the human eye. As we know the estimated age of our universe will surely affect the radiation light of the old stars and the planets, because their radiation is emitted for billions of years, the wavelengths of the radiation from those stars, planets, or galaxies lie on the right side of the visible window in the electromagnetic spectrum. This effect is known as cosmological Redshift.

This infrared technology through JWST will allow us to view the past, this will help us to see old galaxies, stars, planets, etc. This all will become possible because Infrared light can pass through the dense cloud of cosmic dust due to its long wavelength. Generally, short wavelengths are not able to penetrate the dense dust cloud this phenomenon doesn't allow the astronomers to study the universe properly.

This new infrared technology on JWST will help to explore hidden infinity possibilities in the universe.

The first infrared observatory satellite was launched in the year of 1983 called the infrared astronomical satellite. Which has completed the infrared survey of the sky. And also it helped us to discover thousands of unseen objects by 1998. Some of its biggest discoveries ever were the largest ring around Saturn also discovered one of the farthest supermassive black holes. 

Observatory instruments of JWST

Now scientists and engineers did up-gradation on the previous infrared technology one level up through the JWST. They designed JWST to carry all the observatory's four scientific instruments and two detectors on board, which will be able to study near-infrared and mid-infrared wavelengths.

The Near Infrared Camera

The NIR cam hosts the onboard coronagraph, this cam can focus and identify a very hazy and faint object. Even it can detect those objects near extremely bright light easily. It is like when you hold your hand to cover the bright light and try to see the object near to it.

The Near Infrared Spectrograph

Then comes the near-infrared spectrograph, which works on a unique technology that helps it to analyze the spectrum of any objects by the use of a micro shutter array. This component has 100 micro shutter cells, which are wide like human hair. This technology is used to find the physical property of any object like mass, temperature, chemical compositions, etc.

Mid Infrared Instrument

The third one is the mid-infrared instrument, this will work using the onboard cameras of the telescope. It can provide amazing picture quality compare to the Hubble telescope.          

Near Infrared Imager

And the last one is the fine guidance sensor FGS or near-infrared imager NII and slitless spectrograph which helps the telescope to find and target any objects, look for exoplanets and capture the initial lights from the objects by using those instruments.

The main objective of the James Webb space telescope or JWST is to capture the old light around 13 billion years before the universe and its objects like stars, galaxies different planets, cosmic clouds, black holes, and find many more hidden objects. It's like traveling back in time to understand how the universe transformed into the current state from the helium and hydrogen cloud? How was the universe made? How did Big Bang take place?

Some of the world's top space agencies are collaborating like NASA, ESA, and CSA to do something beyond our knowledge about space. It's really exciting to think about the next generation, there are endless possibilities are waiting for space research, discoveries, and theories.

Now the most important thing is to be seen how the hard work and the dedication of the scientist and the engineers paid off when the JWST will start working and sending its photos and discoveries.

Thank you for reading this article, if you have any thoughts about JWST please drop in the comment below.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form