What is the primary aim of James Webb Space Telescope?

JWST's primary aim is to shed light on our cosmic origins: it will observe the Universe's first galaxies, reveal the birth of stars and planets, and look for exoplanets with the potential for life.

ESA, NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) have collaborated since 1996 on the definition of a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST).

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a general-purpose observatory with a large aperture telescope optimised for infrared observations and a suite of state-of-the-art astronomical instruments capable of addressing many outstanding issues in astronomy.

JWST's investigations will cover questions such as: What did the early Universe look like? When did the first stars and galaxies emerge? How did the first galaxies evolve over time? What can we learn about dark matter and dark energy? How and where do stars form? What determines how many of them form and their individual masses? How do stars die and how does their death impact the surrounding medium? Where and how do planetary systems form and evolve?

The James Webb Space Telescope honours NASA's second administrator, James E. Webb, who headed the agency from February 1961 to October 1968, at the time of the Apollo programme. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was formerly known as the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST).

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What is vaccine complacency?

Complacency refers to when the perceived risks of vaccine-preventable diseases are low, and therefore vaccination is not deemed a necessary preventative action. Vaccination convenience is a significant factor when physical availability, affordability and accessibility affect uptake

Two months ago, India crossed the landmark figure of 100 crore administered vaccines—for the first and second dose combined. By December, 10, ~81 crore of its adult population received its first dose, with ~51 crore also having received a second dose so as to be admitted in the once elusive, fully vaccinated against COVID-19 club. While the figure is laudable for a developing country, it's important to continue examining our progress, especially as this impressive feat is occurring along with a dramatic decline in disease incidence since the peak of the second wave and a looming possible third wave driven by the new Omicron variant.

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What are nurdles?

Nurdles are tiny plastic pellets that form the raw materials of most of today’s plastic products and are made of polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride and other plastics. They are melted down and cast into moulds to make various plastic products. Today, nurdles are rapidly degrading our oceans.

They are the raw material for everything that’s made of plastic. But even if they’re tiny, their damage is giant and immeasurable. Because of their size, it’s hard to keep them contained, and they spill into rivers, waterways, and the ocean. 

Nurdles come in all sorts of colors, and their size and shape make it very easy for marine life to mistake them for food. It’s been recorded that more than 220 species of marine animals ingest microplastics and plastic debris. 

Nurdles are made of polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, or other plastic types. Also, in some cases, they contain different additives to create pellets of different densities.

Credit :  Ocean Blue

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What are white dwarfs?

The white dwarf consists of an exotic stew of helium, carbon, and oxygen nuclei swimming in a sea of highly energetic electrons. The combined pressure of the electrons holds up the white dwarf, preventing further collapse towards an even stranger entity like a neutron star or black hole.

The white dwarf now has before it a long, quiet future. As the trapped heat trickles out, it slowly cools and dims. Eventually it will become an inert lump of carbon and oxygen floating invisibly in space: a black dwarf. But the universe isn’t old enough for any black dwarfs to have formed. The first white dwarfs born in the earliest generations of stars are still, 14 billion years later, cooling off. The coolest white dwarfs we know of, with temperature around 4,000 degrees Celsius (7,000 degrees Fahrenheit), may also be some of the oldest relics in the cosmos.

But not all white dwarfs go quietly into the night. White dwarfs that orbit other stars lead to highly explosive phenomena. The white dwarf starts things off by siphoning gas off its companion. Hydrogen is transferred across a gaseous bridge and spilled onto the white dwarf’s surface. As the hydrogen accumulates, its temperature and density reach a flash point where the entire shell of newly acquired fuel violently fuses releasing a tremendous amount of energy. This flash, called a nova, causes the white dwarf to briefly flare with the brilliance of 50,000 suns and then slowly fade back into obscurity.

White dwarfs – the cores left behind after a star has exhausted its fuel supply – are sprinkled throughout every galaxy. Like a stellar graveyard, they are the tombstones of nearly every star that lived and died. Once the sites of stellar furnaces where new atoms were forged, these ancient stars have been repurposed as an astronomer’s tool that have upended our understanding of the evolution of the universe.

Credit : Earth Sky 

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Who was the first woman in space?

The first woman to travel into space was a Soviet cosmonaut named Valentina Tereshkova. She traveled around Earth 48 times while orbiting in the Vostok 6 spacecraft in 1963. The first American woman to travel into space was Sally Ride who rode onboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1983 and 1984.

Born in the village of Maslennikovo northeast of Moscow, Tereshkova volunteered for the Soviet cosmonaut program after Yuri Gagarin made history as the first man to fly in space on April 12, 1961. She was not a pilot, but had extensive parachuting experience, with 126 jumps under her belt. (Gagarin parachuted to Earth, ejecting from the Vostok capsule during descent as part of the landing sequence.)

Tereshkova was one of four women who received 18 months of training for Vostok 6, and was ultimately selected to pilot the flight. The mission launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome two days after Vostok 5, piloted by cosmonaut Valeriy Bykovsky, with the two spacecraft's coming within 3 miles (5 kilometers) of each other. 

Tereshkova spent 70 hours in space and orbited Earth 48 times during her mission. Though an icon of Soviet space exploration, she never flew in space again and became a test pilot and instructor.

Credit : Space.com

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