The James Webb Telescope’s Findings Since Launch

John Bender, Sophomore

The James Webb Telescope’s 1st anniversary has already passed and the discoveries it has made are breaking astronomer’s predictions and views of our universe. LIke the Hubble telescope, it has produced stunning images of our cosmos. The telescope was launched on Christmas day, in 2021. The telescope is orbiting Earth’s L2 point.  It is equipped with an infrared sensor and can see a wider range of wavelengths than the previous Hubble telescope. Astronomers are using this infrared ability to find and observe exoplanets. Planets outside the solar system, orbiting other stars.

One of many notable discoveries is the observation of this exoplanet, orbiting the star HIP 65426. They captured the images below by using the telescope’s many filters and blocking out the host star’s light. This planet is easier to observe due to its distance from the host star and its size. The planet is 12 times bigger than Jupiter. The planet is 10,000 times less bright than its host star. There is no possibility of life on this planet but our ability to study its atmosphere by the wavelengths it reflects can lead us to promising candidates for life.

The James Webb Telescope has broken the record for the most distant galaxy found. The light from this galaxy left it 13.4 billion years ago, when the universe was only 350 million years old, about 2% of its current age. The reason the galaxy is red is because of reshifting when an object is moving away from us. As light travels through a vacuum, it loses some of its energy and its wavelength is decreased. This can tell us about what our universe was like shortly after the big bang and how our universe formed in the way it did.

The James Webb Telescope has made ground-breaking discoveries in the field of astronomy. Only time will tell of the many more discoveries the telescope will make. We’re only at the beginning of its lifespan and we may not be ready for what it can prove.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.