UA Camera Begins Next Leg on Journey to Space

May 04, 2010 By Jeff Harrison
NIRCam, packaged and on its way to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. (photo courtesy Marcia Rieke)

(PhysOrg.com) -- NIRCam, the UA-designed infrared eye of the upcoming James Web Space Telescope, passed a key test and is on its way to the GoddardSpace Flight Center in Maryland. The telescope, designed to search for the earliest galaxies in the universe, is set for launch in 2014.

A key component of a new orbiting space telescope has cleared an important milestone.

NIRCam, the 0.6 to 5 micron imager for NASA's new , or JWST, was designed by scientists at the University of Arizona. The NIRCam Engineering Test Unit passed its test phase at Lockheed in Palo Alto, Calif., where it was constructed, and is being shipped to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

It is due to arrive there on May 3.

With its 6.5 meter (21-foot) mirror, JWST will look for the first light-emitting galaxies and star clusters that formed in the universe after the Big Bang. The NIRCam design is optimized for finding first light sources, peering through clouds of dust in space that obscure these objects.

"The camera also includes features that will make it a wonderful tool for studying star formation in the and for discovering and characterizing planets around other stars," said Marcia Rieke, an astronomer and professor at the UA Steward Observatory and a principal investigator for the JWST.

The test unit at Lockheed includes one fully functional optical channel and was used to demonstrate that the hardware that will be used in aligning JWST's mirror segments will work.

The JWST, formerly known as the Next Generation , is due to launch in 2014.

Explore further: SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

More information: ircamera.as.arizona.edu/nircam/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

James Webb Space Telescope's 'spine' passes health tests

Jan 30, 2007

The "spine" of the James Webb Space Telescope, called the backplane, is in great health for space, according to scientists and engineers. Recent tests show that the backplane, which supports the big mirrors ...

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

Spinning up a dust devil on Mars

Dec 19, 2014

Spinning up a dust devil in the thin air of Mars requires a stronger updraft than is needed to create a similar vortex on Earth, according to research at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.