a thoughtful web.
Share good ideas and conversation.   Login or Take a Tour!
comment by goobster
goobster  ·  669 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Blue-sky thinking: Vision from multiple planets

    "...One of the reasons that they are going to put the James Webb in orbit at the L2 lunar node is that the earth and moon block the sun creating permanent shadow..."


That is SO cool... I didn't know there was anywhere you could "hide" from the Sun permanently in our solar system. That's a revelation...

(... and obviously, my storyteller brain is now crafting a scifi story that revolves around something painted Vanta Black hiding out in this "dark" spot...)

ThurberMingus  ·  668 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Had to look it up because I never realized it either. So the telescope would orbit the L2 node outside the shadow (solar panels need light) but all the bright things in the sky will stay right where they belong behind the sun sheild.


    Webb primarily observes infrared light, which can sometimes be felt as heat. Because the telescope will be observing the very faint infrared signals of very distant objects, it needs to be shielded from any bright, hot sources. This also includes the satellite itself! The sunshield serves to separate the sensitive mirrors and instruments from not only the Sun and Earth/Moon, but also the spacecraft bus.

    The telescope itself will be operating at about 225 degrees below zero Celsius (minus 370 Fahrenheit). The temperature difference between the hot and cold sides of the telescope is huge - you could almost boil water on the hot side, and freeze nitrogen on the cold side!

    To have the sunshield be effective protection (it gives the telescope the equivalent of SPF one million sunscreen) against the light and heat of the Sun/Earth/Moon, these bodies all have to be located in the same direction.

    This is why the telescope will be out at the second Lagrange point.

Heat problems in space are so weird when you're used to thinking about an atmosphere.

kleinbl00  ·  668 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Heat problems in space are so weird when you're used to thinking about an atmosphere.

Convection, conduction, radiation, man. Convection goes to zero because you have no fluid to interact with. Conduction stays exactly where it is. Radiation hits the roof because there is absolutely no dissipation between "hot thing" and "you."

What's funny is the equations are actually hella simpler because "convection" is an empirical pain in the ass to calculate. parallel plate sinks get used most often not only because they're easy to extrude but because they have some of the least heinous math.