Week 5 I shifted focus towards upcoming space telescope projects. Not only has there been lots of advancements in ground based telescopes but space telescopes as well. Many new and upcoming space telescopes will be able to see far into the depth of the galaxy. One of those upcoming space telescopes is the James Webb space telescope scheduled to launch in October 2018. The James Webb space telescope will provide unprecedented resolution and sensitivity. This telescope will allow for a broad range of research in astronomy and cosmology. The telescope should be able to see some of the most distant events and objects in the Universe, such as the formation of the first galaxies. This is far beyond the capability of any current ground and space based telescopes. It will also be used to study the formation of stars and planets capable of using direct imaging of exoplanets. Unlike other telescopes it will have a greater capacity to perform infrared astronomy which will help accomplish it’s goals better than visible light or ultraviolet astronomy. The astronomical scientists are very excited for the launch of this telescope.
Astronomers have always known that the Hubble space telescope won’t last forever but it sure has lasted longer than expected. If launched the Advanced Technology Large-Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAST) will replace the HST. ATLAST will have the ability to obtain spectroscopic and imaging observations of astronomical objects in the ultraviolet, optical, and infrared wavelengths, but with substantially better resolution than either HST or the James Webb Space Telescope. ATLAST is a planned mission for the 2025-2035 period with the major focus to determine whether there is life elsewhere in the galaxy, many refer to it as the “life-finder.” It will search for biosignatures, molecular oxygen, ozone, water, and methane, on exoplanets. The backronym, ATLAST, is actually a pun referring to how long it took to decide on a true, visible-light, successor for the Hubble Space Telescope, but it’s name will probably change as the project progresses.