What does this mean ?

The end of 20 years of waiting and a long journey of 1.5 million km in interplanetary space! The largest space telescope in the history of astronomy will orbit the Lagrange point L2 tonight at 9 p.m. That’s what that means.

Imagine in the ’90s, that James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the biggest telescope Spacecraft that crossed the decades to date Historic launch on December 25 On an impressive plane Ariane 5 From Koro, Guyana. Impressive by its size, by take-off power We have to live in FuturaBut also in terms of accuracy! Ariane knocked out the JWST from Earth’s gravitational influence with so few trajectory errors that the telescope was able to save fuel and Provides double the life expectancy By scientists and engineers!

In fact, once I started, Newton is in charge,” As Tom Hanks said in Apollo 13, no need to start the motors, the path is determined by Speed from the device. Since perfect accuracy is impossible, interplanetary probes like James-Webb have their own rocket motor, which only lights up briefly once or twice during flight to make slight course corrections.

interplanetary parking

The interplanetary path is calculated for JWST to deposit in Lagrange point L2, but like any destination, if you accelerate, you have to brake! In space it results in reaching a height, staying at it so as not to return, or, conversely, to go beyond its destination. Tonight, 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, James Webb will reach the much-anticipated L2 and start his engines to position himself there. orbiting She joins her new companions, the telescopes Jaya And Specter-RG There is already. The event (in English) is broadcast by NASA employment Youtube.

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The event can be watched on YouTube. © NASA, YouTube

Once the car is parked, the next goal will be to complete the cooling so we can run the first hardware tests in a few weeks and, finally, take the first snapshots of the deep universe.

unstable destination

Unlike other telescopes such as Hubble, JWST is not in Earth orbit, but orbits around Soleil, Like asteroid or a planet. More specifically, it aims to Point de Lagrange L2 in Earth. the Lagrange points Are areas in space in which there is a certain gravitational equilibrium between two stars. For JWST, these are the points between the Earth and the Sun, but these equilibrium regions exist the same way between the moon And the land that the future will use lunar space station portal.

When a vehicle is placed on Earth’s Lagrange point, it orbits the Sun at the same speed as our planet, which allows it to maintain a constant distance throughout the year, unlike other planets by example, which periodically approach and then move away. , until they are completely opposite the sun to us. This has the advantage of telecommunication and transmission of heavy photographic and spectral data that He will send us a telescope. Point L2 has an additional advantage, it is a point located on the axis of the Earth and the Sun, and on the opposite side of the Sun relative to the Earth. Since it is exactly on the axis, the Earth is superior to our own star And it makes it possible to significantly reduce the radiation received by the heat shield and observing instruments, so the telescope is immersed in permanent darkness.

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A probe at the Lagrangian point L2 orbits around it, like a satellite orbiting a planet

However, just placing a strange instrument in this area is not enough to waltz in harmony with the earth, as it will only last temporarily. The forces in play will naturally push things away from Point de Lagrange L2 And the scale broke, like a rotating top that no longer rotated. If the Lagrange area resembles a hill, then the Lagrange point is its summit: the telescope is attached to the top by a rubber band, but this telescope is allowed to pass after a while, so as not to roll down the slope, the instrument will have to remain near the top by operating it regularly thrusters, which is why that Duration Life is determined by the probe’s fuel. In fact, a probe at the L2 Lagrangian point is orbiting around it, like a conventional satellite orbiting a planet, although here it is not orbiting … anything.

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