(ORDO NEWS) — The Webb Space Telescope has been observing the universe for two weeks. Due to this, NASA specialists have the opportunity to replenish the archives with new photos of galaxies and stars.
It is worth noting that the observatory is located at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers from our planet. Experts believe it could be hit by a short-period comet dubbed Halley’s Comet.
At the end of spring this year, a fairly large micrometeorite crashed into one of the segments of the main mirror mounted on the Webb Space Telescope, whose diameter is 6.5 meters.
This caused the segment to be damaged. Experts also note that the incident did not affect the performance of the device.
Previously, several small micrometeorites fell into the main mirror, but they did not damage it. NASA predicts that many small space rocks will constantly fall into the telescope.
At the same time, the spring impact demonstrated that large rocks could threaten the normal functioning of the observatory.
Halley’s comet leaves behind a huge amount of dust and debris of various sizes in the inner part of the solar system. They threaten the Webb Space Telescope. In this case, very large fragments can be present in the flow.
The most dangerous situation will be in May 2023 and 2024. At this time, the telescope will pass through the stream of space rocks left behind by Halley’s comet.
It is worth paying attention to the fact that the streams provoke the occurrence of the Eta-Aquarids and Orionids meteor showers on Earth.
The first can be observed in May, and the second appear in mid-autumn. When the particles enter the atmosphere, in just an hour you can see about two dozen “shooting stars”.
Halley’s Comet is said to be the only comet that can be seen without special equipment. It was first noticed back in 240 BC, and since then it has been approaching the Sun every 75 years, so people can see it from Earth.
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