14.1 C
New York

Nasa unveils James Webb Space Telescope’s upcoming missions


NEW DELHI: The Space Telescope Science Institute recently unveiled its plan for



James Webb Space Telescope

(JWST) for the upcoming two years, highlighting the third cycle of its space operations. A total of 253 General Observers (GO) programs have been selected, dedicating over 5,500 hours to exploring various cosmic phenomena from July 2024 to June 2025.

This initiative, valued at $10 billion, aims to expand upon the scientific achievements made since JWST started transmitting data back in 2022, a space.com said.
Cycle 3’s exploration

will cover a broad spectrum of

celestial subjects

, including potential exomoons, exoplanets alongside their atmospheres, supermassive black holes, and distant galaxies from the universe’s nascent stages. These studies intend to deepen our understanding of the universe’s accelerating expansion and the enigmatic dark energy fueling this growth.
Among the notable projects, Columbia University’s Assistant Professor David Kipping and his team will investigate extra-solar moons, specifically targeting the exoplanet Kepler-167e. This marks a significant step forward in the hunt for exomoons, leveraging JWST’s Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) for potentially the first undisputed detection of an exomoon.
Furthermore, the JWST’s Cycle 3 will delve into the enigmatic realm of supermassive black holes situated at the heart of major galaxies, contributing vital data to our understanding of these cosmic giants and their impact on galaxy evolution.

In addition to its deep space missions, the JWST will also embark on studies within our solar system, including the analysis of gas plumes from Saturn’s moon Enceladus and the dynamics of Uranus’ rings. The Cycle 4 call for proposals is set to open on August 1, 2024, marking the next phase of this groundbreaking astronomical endeavor.
Here are some key upcoming missions of JWST:
TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanets Study (Early 2024)

Webb will observe the TRAPPIST-1 system, which contains seven Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting an ultra-cool dwarf star about 40 light-years away. The telescope will study the atmospheres of these planets to determine if any could potentially support life.
Mapping the earliest galaxies (Mid-2024)
One of Webb’s main goals is to observe the first galaxies that formed after the Big Bang over 13.5 billion years ago. In 2024, it will conduct deep surveys of early galaxy formation and evolution when the universe was just a few hundred million years old.
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

(Late 2024)
Webb will turn its powerful infrared instruments towards Jupiter to study the planet’s famous Great Red Spot storm in unprecedented detail. This will provide insights into the storm’s structure, dynamics, and chemistry.
SMACS 0723 Galaxy Cluster (Early 2025)
The telescope will revisit the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 which has provided some of the deepest infrared images of the early universe so far thanks to gravitational lensing effects amplifying distant galaxy light.
Titan’s Atmosphere

Webb has plans to study the atmosphere of Saturn’s largest moon Titan in 2025. It will map the moon’s Surface composition and atmosphere to better understand the complex chemistry of this hazy world.
Exoplanet Transits

Throughout 2024 and 2025, Webb will continue observing exoplanets as they transit or pass in front of their parent stars. This allows studying exoplanet atmospheres by analyzing how starlight filters through.

Related articles

Recent articles