James Webb Space Telescope is now successfully fully deployed

NASA, ESA and CSA (the Canadians) got the Christmas present they wanted, a successful launch of the James Webb ST. and now a successful deployment.


It is now on it’s way to the L2 Lagrange Point, some 1.5 million km (almost 1 million  miles) from the earth.
You can follow the telescopes progress on the NASA “Where is Webb” page <HERE>.

Next meeting of the Society 16th December @7:30


Topic: Mike Thomas Lecture
Time: Dec 16, 2021 07:30 PM

Meeting ID: 812 7530 3197
Passcode: 489860

The next meeting of the Society will be on Thursday 16th December 2021 when we welcome back Keith Moseley, former Head of Physics at Monmouth School, to give one of his excellent talks. This time the subject will be Uranus and Neptune, the forgotten planets. This will be the Mike Thomas lecture that the Usk Society holds each year to remember a past stalwart member of the Usk Society, the subject is generally on a topic concerning the solar system that was Mikes’s lifelong interest.

Please note that although it was announced previously that this meeting would be face to face with a Zoom feed as well, owing to announcements by the Welsh and English administrations this week concerning developments with Covid it has been decided to play it safe and just have a Zoom meeting.

Next Meeting of the Society is by Zoom @7:30 on Thursday 9th December

The link for the next meeting is given below


Meeting ID: 818 9906 1254
Passcode: 356916

The meeting will start at 7:30 PM, Bob Wright will give a short talk on the Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) which is presently in the sky in the constellation of Bootes. It rising at 01:02 (GMT) and reaches an altitude of 45° above the eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks around 06:20. It should be an easy binocular object although not naked eye. Nick Busby will then give a talk aimed at beginners on how to locate comets, observe them and image them.

If you want to search for it this week then this guide will show you where it is: https://in-the-sky.org/data/object.php?id=CK21A010

Will the James Webb ST finally make it into space?

James Webb Space Telescope

It’s December 2021 and the final moment in a saga, started in 1996, to build and launch a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.  The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is due to be hoisted aloft by an Arian 5 rocket from French Guiana on the 22nd.  It will then take some 6 months to deploy before any science can be done.
It is a very complex engineering project and there are a host of things that can go wrong during its deployment, so fingers crossed.
JWST is an infra red telescope covering the wavelengths  0.6 to 28.3 µm, cf the visual range of 0.38 to 0.76 µm.  This will enable it to look back to the era of the origin of stars and galaxies.

The main objectives of the JWST mission are:-
1)  To investigate the light from the dawn of the universe some 13 billion years ago;
2)  To study the formation of the first galaxies;
3)  To look for the first generation stars and better understand the formation of stars and their planetary systems;
4)  To study planetary systems in the Milky Way and potentially analyse the atmospheres of and look for signs of life from these planets.

In order to protect the instrument from the Sun, earth and moon, to get its operating temperature as low as possible, and increase its sensitivity, it is being placed at the Lagrange L2 position, some 1 million miles away in line with the sun and earth, with a huge parasol to protect it.  If anything goes wrong then that is it, it cannot be serviced like the HST was!

Further information is at the following LINKs:  NASA, ESA and the Space Telescope Science Institute.
Quanta Magazine has also just published an article, at LINK, and there is a video at LINK.