Here we explain why the Webb’s MIRI instrument can give us a new view in science after these images

09/05/2022
Credit image: NASA
Credit image: NASA

Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 09 May 2022, at 08:21 am Los Angeles time

The James Webb telescope is making huge strides, progresses that no one expected, as can be seen in an engineering image taken by Webb to confirm the success of the alignment phase of its mirrors and instruments.

The image captured with the super-powerful Mid-Infrared or MIRI instrument at 7.7 microns compared to almost the same image captured by Spitzer at 8.0 microns, looks, at first sight, 100 times better or even more.

It shows part of the Great Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.

Spitzer has long been considered one of the best or perhaps even the best NASA telescope to see the near and middle infrared universe.

It was withdrawn, after more than 18 years of operation, on January 30, 2020.

However, Spitzer's time has passed, and the glorious James Webb Telescope is making its presence felt in the scientific world.

According to NASA, a big advantage of Webb's image is that the MIRI instrument captured the interstellar gas in unprecedented detail.

"Here, you can see the emission from "polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons," or molecules of carbon and hydrogen that play an important role in the thermal balance and chemistry of interstellar gas," said NASA.

How can MIRI see the Universe so well? 

In addition to the camera, it also has a spectator, a very important component for future observations. 

It has the power to see light in the middle infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum, with wavelengths that are longer than our eyes see, the instrument thus covers the wavelength range from 5 to 28 microns, and the image above is taken at 7.7 microns. 

In addition, the detectors that the instrument (very sensitive) allow it to see the red-shifted light of distant galaxies or objects such as stars at enormous distances from us or perhaps even objects in the Solar System at its edge in the Kuiper Belt.

Drawing the line at the end, we can confirm with certainty that the James Webb Telescope will allow a new view of science and the early universe.

If we know so much only from the observations of past telescopes, as you have seen in Spitzer recently, it is easy to see that the great astronomical discoveries are on the way.

Scientists are already thinking that after Webb completes the final commissioning phase, which is the calibration and careful verification of the 4 scientific instruments, it will be able to begin studying the births of stars or even protoplanetary systems in unprecedented detail.

Good luck Webb!

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