Behind the Webb Podcast

  • August 19, 2015

    Episode 27: Cosmic Shutterbug

    by Mary Estacion

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    Shownotes

    This episode of "Behind the Webb" explores the multi-tasking capabilities of one of the cameras on the Webb Space Telescope, the Near-Infrared Spectrograph. Newly designed technology known as "microshutters" – tens of thousands of tiny shutters that open and close to allow only the light from targeted objects to enter the instrument – enables scientists to study the spectrum of more than one galaxy at a time. As many as 100 objects can be simultaneously observed.

  • May 19, 2015

    Episode 26: Struttin' Its Stuff

    by Mary Estacion

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    Shownotes

    The James Webb Space Telescope has a series of mirrors to get the light from the universe into the observatory's cameras. After the light reaches the primary mirror, it is then bounced up 25 feet to the secondary mirror. This much smaller mirror is deployed using three arms, or struts. Engineers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center are conducting tests to ensure a successful deployment after launch. This episode of Behind the Webb shows us the scope of the task at hand and how the test is being done to simulate a zero-gravity environment.

  • March 31, 2015

    Episode 25: A Perfect Pair

    by Mary Estacion

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    Shownotes

    The James Webb Space Telescope is comprised of some very large structures, and those have to fit together before, during, and after launch. Extreme care has to be taken when moving equipment that weighs thousands of pounds. This episode of Behind the Webb gives us a glimpse into what it takes to test the compatibility between the backplane that will hold the primary mirror segments, the sunshield, and the spacecraft bus. We also see how the sunshield will be pulled into position, giving us a sense of how large the observatory will be when it's in orbit.