NASA plans to launch the James Webb Space Telescope in 2021. It’s a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, and will research the formation of the very first galaxies. But what if we could look even further back in time and space? Some astronomers from Texas are looking into an old idea to build a massive telescope on the moon to study the oldest stars in the universe.
NASA Hubble Fellow Anna Schauer is a researcher in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin, and a member of the team working on the new telescope. Schauer told Texas Standard that as a theorist who runs large cosmological simulations of the early universe, she wonders what kind of telescope would be needed to look back that far in time, before the first galaxies formed.
“Whenever you point your telescope to the sky, you’re basically taking a journey back to the past because light takes a certain time to travel through the universe,” Schauer said. “So whenever we look at something that’s very far away, we are also looking back in time.”
What you’ll hear in this segment:
– Why such a telescope needs to be placed on the moon
– How ancient stars differ from our sun and other young stars
– What would be needed to construct a moon-based telescope