To help identify these colors and objects the James Webb Space Telescope will be using a spectrograph called NIRSpec. Recently, the engineering test unit for the Webb telescope's Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) instrument arrived at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. from its manufacturer in Germany for preliminary testing.
"A spectrograph is an instrument that separates light into a spectrum," said Bernie Rauscher of NASA Goddard. "One example of a spectrograph that most folks know about is a chandelier (or diamond ring). When sunlight shines through it, it breaks it up into colors. NIRSpec analyzes those colors from deep space to help us solve mysteries." Rauscher is the Principal Investigator for the NIRSpec Detector Subsystem and the Deputy Project Scientist of the Webb's Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM).
The NIRSpec instrument will be the principal spectrographic instrument on-board the Webb telescope.
The components that make up NIRSpec will be sensitive to infrared wavelengths from the most distant galaxies and will be capable of obtaining spectra of more than 100 objects in the cosmos simultaneously. Determining an object's spectra is important, because it will help scientists determine the age, chemical composition and distances of faint galaxies. These measurements are key to unraveling the history of galaxy formation in the early Universe - one of the primary science goals of the Webb mission.
One unique technology in the NIRSpec that enables it to obtain those 100 simultaneous spectra is a micro-electromechanical system called a "microshutter array." NIRSpec's microshutter cells, each approximately as wide as a human hair, have lids that open and close when a magnetic field is applied. Each cell can be controlled individually, allowing it to be opened or closed to view or block a portion of the sky. It is this adjustability that allows the instrument to do spectroscopy on so many objects simultaneously. Because the objects NIRSpec will be looking at are so far away and so faint, the instrument needs a way to block out the light of nearer bright objects. Microshutters operate similarly to people squinting to focus on an object by blocking out interfering light.
NASA Goddard has a lot invested in the NIRSpec. Goddard built NIRSpec's detector and microshutter systems. EADS/Astrium is the European Space Agency's (ESA) prime contractor for the overall NIRSpec instrument. The prototype instrument was integrated and tested at Astrium's facility in Munich, Germany, before being shipped to Goddard.
Now that it has arrived at Goddard, the NIRSpec engineering test unit will go through pre-integration testing with the ISIM, which acts as a "chassis" to the Webb telescope observatory. Along with the other instruments, NIRSpec will be fitted into the ISIM, which is also currently at Goddard. The engineering test unit reproduces the physical, thermal, electrical and optical (up to the Micro-Shutter Array unit) properties of the flight model.
The James Webb Space Telescope is the next-generation premier space observatory, exploring deep space phenomena from distant galaxies to nearby planets and stars. The Webb Telescope will give scientists clues about the formation of the universe and the evolution of our own solar system, from the first light after the Big Bang to the formation of star systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth.
The Webb Telescope project is managed at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, and will launch in 2014.
For information about NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, visit: http://www.jwst.nasa.gov/
For more information about the NIRSpec, visit: http://www.jwst.nasa.gov/nirspec.html
For more information, visit the NIRSpec website at the Space Telescope Science Institute: http://www.stsci.edu/ngst/instruments/nirspec/
Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms
17.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz
New functional principle to generate the „third harmonic“
16.02.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
20.02.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine
20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine