George Will, political commentator, wrote an article for his Washington Post column this week that praised the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). I am accustomed to his conservative politics and baseball trivia, but he was showing a whole new side in this piece. He was almost giddy in his praise of the telescope. I guess no one can avoid being fascinated with the images we have seen since July of last year, as well as what we are learning from these images. The universe has plenty of secrets to share.
Mr. Will was just as impressed with the engineering that went into the JWST, noting that:
To function, each mirror must, after being hurled into space on a shuddering rocket, retain this exquisite precision: If each mirror were the size of the continental United States, each should not vary more than 2 inches from perfect conformity with the others.
That is impressive.
It is just nice to see astronomy bleeding into everyday conversations, which is what is needed given the rest of the Earth-bound news these days. Yes, it is time to look up and look back in time to understand our place in the universe. Talk about science, be it astronomy or engineering, should replace the political talk from time to time.
There is nothing new under the sun when it comes of silly politicians, but the night sky always has something new to share with us. We just have to pay attention.