NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will be able to explore even more cosmic questions, thanks to a new near-infrared filter. The upgrade will allow the observatory to see longer wavelengths of light, opening up exciting new opportunities for discoveries from the edge of our solar system to the farthest reaches of space.
With the new filter, Roman’s wavelength coverage will span 0.5 to 2.3 microns – a 20% increase over the mission’s original design. This range will also enable more collaboration with NASA’s other big observatories, each of which has its own way of viewing the cosmos. The Hubble Space Telescope can see from 0.2 to 1.7 microns, which allows it to observe the universe in ultraviolet to near-infrared light. The James Webb Space Telescope, launching in October, will see from 0.6 to 28 microns, enabling it to see near-infrared, mid-infrared, and a small amount of visible light. Roman’s improved range of wavelengths, along with its much larger field of view, will reveal more interesting targets for Hubble and Webb to follow up on for detailed observations.
Expanding Roman’s capabilities to include much of the near-infrared K band, which extends from 2.0 to 2.4 microns, will help us peer farther across space, probe deeper into dusty regions, and view more types of objects. Roman’s sweeping cosmic surveys will unveil countless celestial bodies and phenomena that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to find.