What James Webb’s Most Ambitious First-Year Science Mission Will Teach Us – Forbes

The Hubble Space Telescope has been astronomy’s most revolutionary observatory in history.

For over 30 years, it’s taken us to the farthest depths of space.

Hubble’s deep-field views have revealed galaxies to unprecedented distances and faintnesses.

Despite these successes, its narrow field-of-view restricts its views to under 1% of the cumulative sky.

With larger-aperture, infrared capabilities, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will surpass Hubble in many ways.

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Nominally scheduled for launch October 31st, many excellent alternative windows arise before 2021’s end.

Assuming Webb’s launch and deployment are successful, science operations will begin in 2022.

Although Webb deep fields are planned, there’s an even more ambitious project on the way: COSMOS-Webb.

Many Hubble surveys — like GOODS, COSMOS, and Frontier Fields — have focused on wide-field observations.

By observing nearby patches of sky repeatedly, we can stitch together broader views of the Universe.

Multi-wavelength additions have already revealed copious cosmic features, including:

  • galaxy growth,
  • large-scale clustering,
  • gravitational lensing,
  • and evolving star-formation rates.

With Webb’s infrared views added in, we’ll probe reionization and dark matter growth as well.

How did galaxies grow, evolve, and turn on so early in time?

With ~500,000 galaxies from COSMOS-Webb, we’ll finally find out.


Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in images, visuals, and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.

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