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what astronomers hope it will reveal about the beginning of the universe – podcast

Writer : Gemma Ware, Editor and Co-Host, The Dialog Weekly Podcast, The Dialog

The big James Webb Area Telescope is present process its closing checks forward of the launch scheduled for late December. On this episode of The Dialog Weekly podcast, we converse to 2 astronomers in regards to the telescope and the questions they hope it is going to reply in regards to the starting of the universe and the situations on exoplanets orbiting faraway stars.

And we hear about new analysis into the techniques utilized by the meals trade to spice up gross sales of ultra-processed meals in middle-income nations.

With a mirror six and a half metres in diameter, a Solar protect the dimensions of a tennis court docket and an instrument compartment greater than a cellphone sales space, the James Webb Area Telescope is gigantic. The mission to get it into area has been almost 25 years within the making at the price of round US$10 billion.

After years of delays, and some final minute technical hitches, the telescope is lastly set to blast into area from Kourou in French Guiana on December 22.

Martin Barstow, professor of astrophysics and area science on the College of Leicester within the UK and chair of the Area Telescope Science Institute Council, which is able to run the operations centre for the James Webb Area Telescope, says the launch can be a nervous second for astronomers. After the Hubble Area Telescope launched in 1990, an issue with its mirror meant the pictures it despatched again had been blurred, and Nasa needed to ship a group of astronauts to repair the issue. However James Webb goes out a lot additional into area, to what’s referred to as a Lagrange level about one million miles from Earth.

“We can not go and restore this one, says Barstow. “It’s too far-off. A very powerful factor for me is to see the telescope working. These of us who’re near it, know what can go fallacious. I don’t care what the primary picture is, I simply need to see a picture that’s in focus.”

As soon as the telescope is up and working, it is going to permit astronomers to see again in time to search for the sunshine from the earliest stars that shaped quickly after the massive bang.

One query astronomers hope it is going to reply is how these first stars shaped into galaxies. That is what intrigues Marcia Rieke, Regents professor of astronomy on the College of Arizona within the US and the principal investigator for one of many cameras onboard the telescope, the near-infrared digicam.

“Now we have some clues {that a} vary of sizes of galaxies or star clusters shaped early on,” says Rieke, “however we don’t perceive what that vary of sizes is. Nor can we perceive very properly how these items come collectively to kind greater and larger galaxies.”

Learn extra:
James Webb Area Telescope: An astronomer on the group explains the way to ship a large telescope to area – and why

The telescope may also be capable of enhance our understanding of exoplanets, planets in orbit round different stars. Barstow says the devices on James Webb will permit astronomers to measure the atmospheric composition and temperature of those planets. “We would even be capable of see proof for the existence of constructions within the ambiance, resembling clouds,” he says.

In our second story on this episode, we have a look at the marketplace for ultra-processed meals resembling tender drinks, desserts, snacks or frozen meals. Consumption of most of these meals and drinks is related to larger dangers of weight problems, heart problems and sort 2 diabetes. However they’re additionally massive enterprise for the meals trade, and in latest a long time corporations have realised that the fastest-growing markets for these sorts of meals are in middle-income nations resembling South Africa, Indonesia, China and Brazil.

Edwin Kwong, a analysis fellow on the College of Melbourne in Australia, explains his latest analysis into the techniques a few of these corporations are utilizing to focus on customers in these industrialising nations.

And Lutfhi Dzulfikar, an editor for The Dialog in Jakarta, Indonesia, offers us some really useful studying in regards to the latest volcanic eruption on the island of Java.

This episode of The Dialog Weekly was produced by Mend Mariwany and Gemma Ware, with sound design by Eloise Stevens. Our theme music is by Neeta Sarl. You’ll find us on Twitter @TC_Audio, on Instagram at theconversationdotcom or by way of electronic mail. You may also signal as much as The Dialog’s free day by day electronic mail right here.

You possibly can hearken to The Dialog Weekly by way of any of the apps listed above, obtain it instantly by way of our RSS feed, or learn the way else to pay attention right here.


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