Behind the Webb Podcast

  • February 3, 2014

    Episode 22: 100 Points of Light

    by Mary Estacion

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    Shownotes

    The Webb Telescope’s Near Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) instrument will be used to study star formation and the chemical composition of young, distant galaxies. The instrument breaks near-infrared light into its components for closer examination and analysis. But what makes NIRSpec even more special is its 'multi-object' capability which enables it to look at as many as 100 objects at the same time.

  • December 9, 2013

    Episode 21: All Sewn Up

    by Mary Estacion

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    Shownotes

    The James Webb Space Telescope’s tennis court-sized sunshield is made of a special material called Kapton. But finding Kapton this size is impossible, so engineers must assemble pieces in order to make the sunshield the proper size. This episode of Behind the Webb shows us how the sunshield becomes the proper size and how it's being tested to ensure it will withstand the rigors of space.  (Please note: Some parts of the video are obscured due to the proprietary processes used to make the sunshield.)

    For more information, see the feature article from NASA.

    Learn why the sunshield is so important in "Keep it Cold."

  • September 16, 2013

    Episode 20: Webb's Shaping Up

    by Mary Estacion

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    Shownotes

    The sunshield of the James Webb Space Telescope is made up of five layers of a specially designed material that includes Kapton, aluminum, and silicon.  But it's not only what it's made of that allows the sunshield to keep the observatory the right temperature to make its observations.  Behind the Webb host Mary Estacion takes us to Huntsville, Alabama, to see how engineers are testing each layer of the sunshield.

    Find out more about Webb's sunshield.