James Webb Space Telescope Science

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James Webb Space Telescope Science

The James Webb Space Telescope will be a giant leap forward in our quest to understand the Universe and our origins. Webb will examine every phase of cosmic history: from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang to the formation of galaxies, stars, and planets to the evolution of our own solar system. The science goals for Webb can be grouped into four themes:

First Light and Reionization seeks to identify the first bright objects that formed in the early Universe, and follow the ionization history.

Assembly of Galaxies will determine how galaxies and dark matter, including gas, stars, metals, physical structures (like spiral arms) and active nuclei evolved to the present day.

The Birth of Stars and Protoplanetary Systems focuses on the birth and early development of stars and the formation of planets.

Planetary Systems and the Origins of Life studies the physical and chemical properties of solar systems (including our own) and where the building blocks of life may be present.

The observations needed to accomplish these goals require a telescope that can study the Universe in infrared light. To see the faint infrared signals from these distant objects, the telescope needs to be cooled till it is just a few tens of degrees above Absolute Zero. Webb will reside far from the Earth at the L2 region where its sunshield can help to keep the telescope cool.

Want to know more?  Visit the James Webb Space Telescope project home page.

Page Last Updated: September 30th, 2013
Page Editor: Rob Garner