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JWST update – Hexagons in Space — 4 Comments

  1. Nice article, Deirdre -and actually hexagons in space are very common, although very tiny. Carbon hexagonal cycles are at the basis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a class of molecules that compose the cold interstellar medium. So hexagons are pretty much everywhere in the Universe!

  2. Incidentally, you can see that we at the European Southern Observatory (ESO, of which Ireland is a member too) did something that bears some resemblance several years ago. We invited visitors to our headquarters near Munich on the open doors day in 2011 to put hexagons together to reproduce a full-scale cardboard replica of the 39.3m primary mirror of the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). Those were 798 hexagons, each having a size very similar to those composing the JWST primary mirror. You can see a picture at https://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1140a/ . The actual glass hexagons are currently being produced and polished, to be finished before the ELT has its first light in about five years from now.

  3. Adding to Fernando’s comments ‘hexagons are pretty much everywhere in the universe’:
    It can be argued that universal space time can be expressed as oscillating virtual hexagonal (~50 cm, ~8 hr) lattice units conforming to the conservation of energy and momentum and the universe vacuum energy density.
    There is some evidence that small objects (such as asteroids and spacecraft) that are awash in these coherent elastic hexagons do reflect this oscillation.

    • I want to make an additional point on hexagons: In the realm of crystallography as described in solid state physics, there is an equivalence between real(energy) and reciprocal(momentum) hexagonal space. This was mathematically presented in Charles Kittel’s (recently deceased) text “Introduction to Solid State Physics”. And then something to ponder: On April 28, 1935, St Faustina saw ‘an impenetrable brightness in the form of a crystal dwelling place woven together with waves’.

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