NASA recently announced that the Nancy Roman Space Telescope’s main mirror is now complete.
The mirror is 2.4 meters and needed less time to develop than other mirrors because it wasn’t done from scratch. It’s actually a re-surfaced and re-shaped mirror from the National Reconnaissance Office.
The Nancy Roman Space Telescope honors NASA’s first chief astronomers, Nancy Roman, who passed away in 2018. The telescope also called the Roman Space Telescope, or simply the RST is now closer than ever from its launch. Here is what you should know.
The Nancy Roman Space Telescope Reached Another Milestone
The main mirror is the core of a space telescope. It’s responsible for collecting the light that can then be pointed towards various tools. The RST’s main mirror might be the same size as the Hubble’s, but it’s much lighter and has a much wider field of view, 100 times greater.
The RST is an infrared observatory, similar to the popular James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Their missions, however, are different. The JWST must look as far back in time as possible to see the Universe’s first light. The RST, on the other hand, must study the dark energy and the exoplanets.
More About Telescopes’ Mirrors
Telescope mirrors are covered with various materials depending on the wavelengths of light it’s developed to track. Hubble, for instance, can see in ultraviolet, infrared, and in optical. Its mirror is coated in layers of aluminum and magnesium fluoride.
The RST’s mirror is coated with a very thin layer of silver utilized because of its capability to reflect infrared light. It’s almost 200 times thinner than a human hair.
The telescope’s mirror is also polished meticulously. The average bump on the mirror’s surface is 1.2 nanometers high, making it twice as smooth as mission operations need.
Nancy Roman Space Telescope’s Mission
The Nancy Roman Space Telescope will probe the rate of expansion using three techniques, the observations of distant supernovae, the baryon acoustic oscillations, and weak gravitational lensing.
The telescope will also complete a census of exoplanets, resuming Kepler’s work. It’ll be able to survey and track distant, massive exoplanets and rogue planets thanks to its coronagraph.
The Nancy Roman Space Telescope is scheduled for launch in 2025. It will fly to the Sun-Earth LaGrangian 2 point, where it will take up a halo orbit. The mission duration is five years.
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