Notes: I lost a bet with @ellie-bee242 and promised her Stuart smut. So this is for her, ok? Ok. Also thanks to @girlwiththerubyslippers for being a doll and reading part of this and like… screaming at me the entire time lol.
Consciousness was difficult to acquire, and even more difficult to retain once it was in his grasp. Each time Ryan’s bleary, wet eyes would blink open, the weight of their lids would cause them to fall back closed again. Only small snippets of white blinding light were burned into his retinas before he would surrender to the inky blackness deep within the inner recesses of his mind.
It wasn’t until a familiar humanoid shape came into his latest unobstructed view that he summoned the fortitude to stay awake.
Finally, the finer details of the face before him could be made out: a pair of widely-spaced, dark hazel eyes, an aquiline nose, whiskered cheeks, and a thin, pale mouth (beautiful, so beautiful against the light).
(An unexpected conversation, heard in the eerie quietude of the labs.)
Even when he arrives at his apartment, he can still
feel all the things that make the Shinra Science Department what it is. The
smells of chemicals — of mako, too — that cling to him like a ghost seeking to
haunt, the sheer cleanness of the place, the distant sounds of whatever
specimens would be brought there to be worked on, the blinding lights that
never fail in giving him headaches.
You wake up, and find yourself in a dark room, with only a tunnel of dim light illuminating it. You start to follow the light, and notice that it gets brighter the further you go down the tunnel. Finally, you reach the end and are met with a blinding light. The light fades and you see a figure standing in front of a heavenly gate. You catch a glimpse of the stranger, and note that he looks familiar. You hear him say in a kind, understanding voice, “I’m sorry, but you know they had to do it to you.”
Webb’s giant 6.5-meter diameter primary mirror is part of what gives it superior vision, and it’s coated in gold to optimize it for seeing infrared light.
Why do we want to see infrared light?
Lots of stuff in space emits infrared light, so being able to observe it gives us another tool for understanding the universe. For example, sometimes dust obscures the light from objects we want to study – but if we can see the heat they are emitting, we can still “see” the objects to study them.
It’s like if you were to stick your arm inside a garbage bag. You might not be able to see your arm with your eyes – but if you had an infrared camera, it could see the heat of your arm right through the cooler plastic bag.
We can also see the very first stars and galaxies that formed in the early universe. These objects are so far away that…well, we haven’t actually been able to see them yet. Also, their light has been shifted from visible light to infrared because the universe is expanding, and as the distances between the galaxies stretch, the light from them also stretches towards redder wavelengths.
We call this phenomena “redshift.” This means that for us, these objects can be quite dim at visible wavelengths, but bright at infrared ones. With a powerful enough infrared telescope, we can see these never-before-seen objects.
Because infrared light comes from objects that are warm, in order to detect the super faint heat signals of things that are really, really far away, the telescope itself has to be very cold. How cold does the telescope have to be? Webb’s operating temperature is under 50K (or -370F/-223 C). As a comparison, water freezes at 273K (or 32 F/0 C).
How do we keep the telescope that cold?
Because there is no atmosphere in space, as long as you can keep something out of the Sun, it will get very cold. So Webb, as a whole, doesn’t need freezers or coolers - instead it has a giant sunshield that keeps it in the shade. (We do have one instrument on Webb that does have a cryocooler because it needs to operate at 7K.)
Also, we have to be careful that no nearby bright things can shine into the telescope – Webb is so sensitive to faint infrared light, that bright light could essentially blind it. The sunshield is able to protect the telescope from the light and heat of the Earth and Moon, as well as the Sun.
Out at what we call the Second Lagrange point, where the telescope will orbit the Sun in line with the Earth, the sunshield is able to always block the light from bright objects like the Earth, Sun and Moon.
How do we make sure it all works in space?
By lots of testing on the ground before we launch it. Every piece of the telescope was designed to work at the cold temperatures it will operate at in space and was tested in simulated space conditions. The mirrors were tested at cryogenic temperatures after every phase of their manufacturing process.
It will move to Northrop Grumman where it will be mated to the sunshield, as well as the spacecraft bus, which provides support functions like electrical power, attitude control, thermal control, communications, data handling and propulsion to the spacecraft.
Ok, I have been reading a tonne of Humans Are Weird/Space Australia stories and I’ve decided to throw myself onto the pile :)
I’ve seen a couple of posts about how aliens might have different senses to us and how human vision is a compleat sci-fi asspull, but it got me thinking. Even within the senses humans have, there is a huge amount of variation. Our hearing range only extends down to 20hz and the section of the electromagnetic spectrum we can see doesn’t even match up with other earth species!
Alien-1: Human-Steve welcome to the crew! We hope you enjoy… Human-Steve are you listening to me?
Alien-1: Human-Steve! Please pay attention when I am talking to you!
Alien-2: Xpprop, I have read about this! I believe the human cannot hear you because you are not within its audible spectrum, let me try.
Alien-2: (Does best Batman impression)
Human: Oh, gidday!
Alien-1: …I don’t believe this.
Or what about ultraviolet light?
Human: Hey Marpivox! have a look at these flowers!
Alien: Yes! They are very pretty Human-Alex, especially their concentric patterns!
Then one foggy earth-day eve, Pink Diamond came to say, “Jasper with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my palanquin tonight?” Then how the quartzes loved her, as they shouted out with glee: “Jasper the perfect beta, you’ll go down in history!”
AIRY ITS ONLY SEPTEMBER OMFG LOL also like, damn other quartzes shoulda been nice to her in the first place B^T im just sayin