The Ultraviolet Transient Astronomy Satellite (ULTRASAT) will be the first Israeli space telescope project, and it will be launched by NASA. The ultraviolet observatory ULTRASAT will explore the mysteries of transient cosmic occurrences including supernova explosions and neutron star mergers.

The Weizmann Institute of Science and the Israel Space Agency is involved with ULTRASAT. They are leading the effort to get ULTRASAT into a geostationary orbit around the Earth. The goal is to achieve this in 2026. NASA will do more than only launch the mission; they will also be assisting in scientific research.

Mark Clampin:

In a recent conversation with Mark Clampin.  The head of NASA’s Astrophysics Division in Washington said about the Israeli space telescope:

“We are proud to join this partnership, an international effort that will help us better understand the mysteries of the hot, transient universe,” He continued: “ULTRASAT will give the global science community another important capability for making new observations in the nascent field of time domain and multi-messenger astrophysics programs.”

ULTRASAT has a wide field of vision. With this feature, ULTRASAT can detect and record Ultraviolet rays. Moreover, It can detect these rays from transient cosmic sources in record time. To study these transient occurrences, combining data from ULTRASAT with data from other missions will be essential. Time domain and multi-messenger astronomy will help in combining the data. Other missions, such as those studying gravitational waves and particles, can contribute to this combined data. Everything from black holes and gravitational wave sources to supernovae and active galaxies will benefit from the results.

Director and Minister of Innovation:

Israeli Space Agency Director and Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology Uri Oron made this statement: “Groundbreaking science calls for cutting-edge technology,” Moreover, he said: “Our requirements from ULTRASAT, such as a wide field of view, advanced ultraviolet sensitivity, and real-time data control and transfer are at the forefront of technological developments. Israel’s space industry can deliver these capabilities. The Israel Space Agency is proud of the cooperation with NASA as a direct example of the strong partnership between the agencies, and of the Israeli space industry’s technological effort involved in the development of the telescope.”

Weizmann University of Science astronomer and ULTRASAT project leader Eli Waxman said: “This is a breakthrough project that places Israel at the forefront of global research,” Moreover, he continued: “Leading international bodies such as NASA and the DESY research institute have joined this Israeli-led project as partners, having recognized its scientific significance. They are investing considerable resources in the construction and launch of the satellite to become active participants in this mission with access to its scientific products. It’s a science-driven partnership.”

The Launch!

NASA and the Israel Space Agency have an agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, NASA has certain responsibilities. However, one of NASA’s responsibilities is to provide the launch opportunity for ULTRASAT. NASA is also responsible for providing the Flight Payload Adapter and other launch-related tasks for ULTRASAT. Moreover, The observatories that are ready to work will be starting moving from the Israel Space Agency to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Published by: Sky Headlines

NASA’s $10 billion James Webb space telescope is now back in operation! After recovering from the 2nd Instrument Glitch that affected one of its instruments, NASA’s  Space Telescope (JWST or Webb) officially started full science operations on Monday (January 30).

What was the flaw of the James Webb Telescope?

NASA stated on Tuesday (January 31), the James Webb Telescope team conducted days of testing and evaluation. They do so after a “communications delay” on January 15 caused issues with the telescope’s Near Infrared Imager and Spitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) instrument.

On Friday (January 27), In its brief statement, the agency made a statement. They say that it was a major defect. Moreover, the agency said: “Observations that were impacted by the pause in NIRISS operations will be rescheduled,”

Who helped NASA in diagnosing this 2nd instrument glitch?

NIRISS was provided by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), so NASA and CSA personnel collaborated on troubleshooting. According to NASA’s statement published on January 24, the initial problem was a: “communications delay within the instrument, causing its flight software to time out,”

According to NASA, NIRISS can normally operate in four different modes. When other James Webb Telescope instruments are busy, the instrument starts acting as a camera. NIRISS can also study the light signatures of small exoplanet atmospheres, perform high-contrast imaging, and study distant galaxies.

What is the Medium Resolution Spectrometer?

Prior to the NIRISS problem, another JSWT instrument encountered a problem in August 2022. This time it was a grating wheel inside the observatory’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI). However, because the wheel is only required for one of MIRI’s four observing modes, the instrument continued to observe during recovery operations. In November, work on recovering the glitch, known as the Medium Resolution Spectrometer, was all done.

How long it took to recover JSWT?

The James Webb Telescope team also spent two weeks in December dealing with the 2nd Instrument Glitch that kept putting the telescope in safe mode. The problem which was making science observations difficult was a software glitch in the observatory’s attitude control system, which was affecting the direction in which the telescope pointed. On December 20, the observatory recovered quickly from the problem, resuming full science operations.


Published by: Sky Headlines

James Webb Space Telescope has delivered some amazing images and this is before even this space telescope finished with its first full year of observations. The telescope had detected galaxies in the incredibly young universe. Among these stunning images and remarkable findings, this was a puzzling assertion. The Big Bang Theory of cosmology was claimed to be “broken” due to those galaxies which were so massive and appeared so early. This rumor got so much popularity. But due to the false information on the internet, this claim can not be trusted.

Is Big Bang theory really ‘broken’?

The answer is “No”. Here is when the researchers step up to back up this theory. The researchers deeply studied the images taken by the James Webb Telescope. And determined that the distant galaxies, indeed, perfectly agree with our modern understanding of cosmology.

The existence of distant galaxies is not necessarily a problem. Modern Plasma cosmology predicts the appearance of galaxies in the very young universe known as ΛCDM cosmology.  Where the Λ stands for dark energy, and CDM is short for “cold dark matter”. This is due to the absence of galaxies and even stars billions of years ago. When our universe was much smaller and denser than everything was much more uniform, with only minor density differences appearing at random.

However, those density differences grew over time, with the slightly denser pockets drawing more material onto them. Over hundreds of millions of years, those pockets grew to become the first stars, and then the first galaxies.

Indeed, one of the top objectives of the James Webb telescope was to discover. And characterize those first galaxies. So finding galaxies in the incredibly young universe is a point in favor of the Big Bang theory rather than against it.

So, What is the conflict then?

The apparent tension resulted from the estimated masses of those galaxies. Several of them were quite massive — well over 10^10 solar masses. Although they are still much smaller than the Milky Way, they were quite large in the early universe.

According to the researchers who discovered these galaxies, their large masses put them at odds with many models of galactic formation and evolution. The researchers even went so far as to say that no galaxy formation model within the ΛCDM framework may be able to produce such massive galaxies so quickly.

However, those claims were entirely dependent on correctly measuring the distance to those galaxies — an extremely difficult task at such great distances. The researchers used a technique known as a photometric redshift, which approximates a galaxy’s distance by fitting a galaxy’s rough light spectrum to a model. This technique was used to find the record-breaking galaxies that might conflict with cosmological models. This technique is notoriously unreliable. Simple effects like extra dust surrounding the galaxies making them appear farther away than they are.

What is spectroscopic redshift?

A new team of researchers used James Webb to identify galaxies with a much more precise. And the reliable method of determining distance, known as spectroscopic redshift, to accurately judge if the Big Bang Theory is in trouble.

How spectroscopic redshift has helped researchers?

This method identifies the spectral lines of known elements emitted by galaxies. And uses them to calculate the redshift and thus the distance to the galaxies. The team discovered four galaxies using this more precise technique. Despite having long-standing, accurate distances, each of those galaxies was equally remote from the known galaxies. These galaxies did, however, have much smaller masses—between 10^8 and 10^9 solar masses.

Does ΛCDM allow for the existence of these smaller galaxies?

The main concern was that does ΛCDM allow for the existence of these smaller galaxies at such a young age in the history of the universe does the tension persist. Building galaxies is a difficult task. While pen-and-paper mathematics can allow cosmologists to chart the overall history and evolution of the cosmos within the ΛCDM model, galaxy formation is a complex interplay of many different types of physics, including gravity, star formation and supernova explosions, dust distribution, cosmic rays, magnetic fields, and more.

Accounting for all of these interactions necessitates the use of supercomputer simulations that start with the raw, primal state of the universe billions of years ago. And use physics laws to build artificial galaxies. This is the only way to link what we see in the real world to the basic parameters of the ΛCDM model. For example, the amount of normal and dark matter in the cosmos.

Fortunately, there were no such issues. The team described in their research paper, which has been submitted to The Astrophysical Journal Letters and is available as a preprint via arXiv, that the appearance of galaxies with 10^8 solar masses in the early universe was no sweat for ΛCDM.

Let’s conclude this discussion!

As is customary, this is not the final answer that the Big Bang Theory is broken. Astronomers may yet confirm the distance to a very large galaxy in the early universe, forcing us to reconsider our understanding of galaxy formation and, possibly, the ΛCDM cosmological model. It is critical in science to keep an open mind. However, the exaggerated claims made from the early James Webb data don’t cause concern just yet.


Published by: Sky Headlines