NASA has announced the launch of a new deep space observation telescope. The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, because that’s what we’re talking about, will explore the sky up to a thousand times faster than the Hubble Telescope. It aims to answer questions about the formation of the largest structures in the universe and the evolution of the Milky Way to the form we know today.
The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope is due to be launched in the mid-1920s. Its goal will be to provide panoramic views at least 100 times larger than those available from the Hubble Space Telescope, while maintaining similar image sharpness and resolution. The new telescope is expected to scan the sky up to a thousand times faster than the Hubble Telescope. As the American space agency writes, this “will revolutionize astronomy”.
The combination of a wide field of view, high resolution and efficient sky scanning can allow knowledge to advance in many areas, such as the formation and evolution of galaxies, the formation of the largest structures in the Universe, the evolution of our own galaxy – the Milky Way – to the form we know today.
The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope
In addition to observing large fields in the sky, the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope is also to have spectroscopic capabilities. Dividing the light of stars into individual wavelengths (colors), i.e. obtaining a spectrum (which can be compared to a rainbow), allows you to determine, for example, the distance from the observed galaxy, or the chemical composition of an object. The new telescope is to be able to obtain a spectrum for each of the objects in the field of view.
The expansion of the universe causes the light of galaxies to be redshifted (stretched to longer wavelengths). The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will operate in infrared, so it will become a great tool for studying distant galaxies (the farther the galaxy, the greater its redshift, it is called redshift).
The name of the telescope is a tribute to Nancy Grace Roman (1925-2018), an American astronomer dealing with the classification and movement of stars, who also made a significant contribution to the development of the Hubble Space Telescope. The telescope’s mirror diameter will be 2.4 meters. The instrument is to travel in a distant orbit related to the L2 libration point of the Earth-Sun system.
Main photo source: GSFC / SVS / NASA