Links to some of the most spectacular scientific instruments in the Universe!
James Webb Space Telescope
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is an astronomical observatory equipped with a 6.5-meter segmented mirror coated in gold. Positioned at the second Lagrange point (L2), it operates primarily in the infrared spectrum, enabling it to study the earliest galaxies and stars, as well as planetary systems and exoplanets. With its cutting-edge technology and strategic location, the JWST promises to revolutionize our understanding of the cosmos and provide unprecedented insights into the universe's origins and evolution.
The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is an astronomical observatory located in the high-altitude desert of northern Chile. Comprised of 66 high-precision radio telescopes, ALMA operates in the millimeter and submillimeter wavelength range, allowing astronomers to peer through cosmic dust and gas, unraveling the mysteries of star formation, galaxy evolution, and the early universe. Additionally, ALMA plays a crucial role in the study of exoplanets, enabling scientists to investigate the atmospheres and compositions of distant planets outside our solar system.
The Hubble Space Telescope is a space-based observatory operated by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) orbiting Earth at an altitude of about 547 kilometers (340 miles). It features a 2.4-meter (7.9-foot) diameter primary mirror and is equipped with a suite of advanced scientific instruments, including cameras, spectrographs, and sensors. Hubble's location above Earth's atmosphere allows it to capture high-resolution images and spectra across a wide range of wavelengths, enabling groundbreaking research in astronomy and astrophysics. Launched in 1990, it has already exceeded its original planned operational life of 15 years and has undergone several servicing missions to extend its capabilities (the latest in 2009).
The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, launched by NASA in 2008, is a space-based observatory designed to study gamma rays, the highest-energy form of light in the universe. Equipped with two main instruments, the Large Area Telescope (LAT) and the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM), Fermi detects and precisely locates gamma-ray sources, such as active galactic nuclei, pulsars, and gamma-ray bursts, providing crucial insights into high-energy cosmic events and phenomena. Its data has significantly advanced our understanding of particle acceleration, black holes, and the evolution of galaxies.
The Chandra X-ray Observatory, launched by NASA in 1999, is a powerful space-based telescope specialized in observing X-rays from celestial objects. Equipped with four high-resolution X-ray telescopes, Chandra detects and images X-rays emitted by hot and energetic regions in the universe, such as supernova remnants, galaxy clusters, and black holes. Its unparalleled sensitivity and precision have provided transformative insights into high-energy astrophysical processes, offering a unique view of the most extreme and dynamic cosmic phenomena.
The Parker Solar Probe is a NASA spacecraft designed to study the outer corona of the Sun. Launched in 2018, its primary mission is to approach the Sun at close distances, reaching within about 4 million miles (6.4 million kilometers) from its surface, facing extreme temperatures and radiation to gather valuable data about solar wind, magnetic fields, and solar energetic particles. Designed to last 7 years, at closest approach in 2025 it is expected to travel as fast as 690,000 km/h (430,000 mph), or 0.064% the speed of light, making it the fastest object ever built by humans.