Hubble's most iconic images will be smoked by NASA's new space telescope - but it's not Web

Hubble’s most iconic images will be smoked by NASA’s new space telescope – but it’s not Web

The James Webb Space Telescope (Webb) will become an instant icon on July 12, 2022, when NASA and ESA publish a collection of “first light” photos.

However, there is another unspoken space telescope that could be the successor – as evidenced by a simulation by scientists of the type of “mega-exposures” it will be able to capture.

The simulation was generated using a new synthetic catalog of galaxies to create a “pretend” universe. Go and visit the team interactive website and you can zoom and pan over the entire image in full resolution (it’s incredible!).

What is the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope?

It is an infrared space telescope from NASA that is currently under development and planned to be launched by May 2027. The “Galactic Exoplanet Survey” is expected to find 100,000 exoplanets – including Earth-like exoplanets – and help astronomers understand how the universe is expanding.

Although the Roman is often compared to Hubble because it will have the same size mirror of 2.4 meters, the Roman wide-angle lens will give it 100 times the field of view that allows it to map the Milky Way and other galaxies 100 times faster than Hubble.

However, its wide-field space telescope can work to its advantage. “Novel has the unique ability to image very large areas of the sky, allowing us to see the environments around galaxies in the early universe,” said Nicole Drakos, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California Santa Cruz, who led the study published in The Astrophysical Journal which contained the simulation. “Our study helps to show what a Roman ultra-deep field can tell us about the universe, while providing a tool for the research community to extract the most value from such a program.”

As a reminder, here is the iconic Hubble Ultra Deep Field, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope almost 20 years ago. It changed our view of the early universe and revealed galaxies that formed just a few hundred million years after the Big Bang.

What is Hubble Ultra Deep Field?

It is one of the deepest images of the cosmos ever taken and shows almost 10,000 galaxies. Requires 800 exposures taken over 11.3 days and 400 orbits by the Hubble Space Telescope around the Earth, taken between September 24, 2003 and January 16, 2004.

The galaxies in this image are of all different ages, sizes, shapes and colors. About 100 are among the most distant known, some of them existing when the universe was only 800 million years old.

“Hubble Ultra Deep Field gave us a glimpse of the youth of the universe, but it was too small to reveal much information about what the cosmos really was like as a whole,” said Brant Robertson, an astronomy professor at the University of California Santa Cruz and a co-author of the study. . “It’s like looking at a single piece of a 10,000-bit puzzle.”

He believes that Roman could give us 100 pieces of ore from that puzzle and thus give a more complete picture of what the early universe was like and open up new scientific possibilities.

So what could Roman produce to compete with the iconic image? Here is the synthetic image that visualizes what a Roman ultra-deep field might look like:

And here is an annotated version:

The 18 boxes at the top of this image show the area that Roman can see in a single observation, with recesses in the lower half of the image that zoom in

Interestingly, this simulated image contains 10 million galaxies from when the universe was only about half a billion years old.

Each of the 18 images would take about a week to expose to capture the incredibly dim light.

It will enable astronomers to immerse themselves in “era of reionization”, A period when the first light from stars and galaxies scattered ultraviolet energy around a universe that was then only half a billion years old.

Formerly known as Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) until it is renamed the Roman after Nancy Grave Roman, NASA’s first chief astronomer who was also known as the “mother” of the Hubble Telescope.

According to NASAThe Roman has an expected development cost of $ 3.2 billion and a maximum cost of $ 3.9 billion.

Wish you clear skies and big eyes.

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