|Manu||Date: Tuesday, 25-January-2022, 3:54 PM | Message # 1|
|Webb telescope reaches final destination, a million miles from Earth|
by Issam Ahmed
In this file photo taken on August 30, 2007 this NASA artist's rendition shows the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).
The James Webb Space Telescope has arrived at its cosmic parking spot a million miles away, bringing it a step closer to its mission to unravel the mysteries of the Universe, NASA said Monday.
At around 2:00 pm Eastern Time (1900 GMT), the observatory fired its thrusters for five minutes to reach the so-called second Lagrange point, or L2, where it will have access to nearly half the sky at any given moment.
The delicate burn added 3.6 miles per hour (1.6 meters per second) to Webb's overall speed, just enough to bring it into a "halo" orbit around L2, 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.
"Webb, welcome home!" said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a statement.
Webb will begin its science mission by summer, which includes using its high resolution infrared instruments to peer back in time 13.5 billion years to the first generation of galaxies that formed after the Big Bang.
At L2, it will stay in line with the Earth as it moves around the Sun, allowing Webb's sunshield to protect its sensitive equipment from heat and light.
For the giant parasol to offer effective protection, it needs the Sun, Earth and Moon to all be in the same direction, with the cold side operating at -370 degrees Fahrenheit (-225 Celsius).
The thruster firing, known as an orbital burn, was the third such maneuver since Webb was launched on an Ariane 5 rocket on December 25.
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