James Webb Image Reignites Calls To Rename Telescope Amid Links To LGBT Abuses

After releasing the first images of the James Webb, the space telescope has reaffirmed calls by astronomers for Nasa's renaming of the instrument amid claims that Webb was complicit with the historical persecution of LGBTQ+ persons.

The $10 Billion telescope is named in tribute to James Webb, an American official who was the second administrator of Nasa. 

Webb was the US undersecretary for the state between 1949 and 1952. He also led the space agency through many Apollo missions in the 1960s.

Many scientists have criticized the telescope's name, citing allegations that Webb was involved in persecuting LGBTQ+ people during the 1950s and 60s.

In the middle of the 20th century, the US government dismissed many gay and lesbian employees due to the witch-hunt known as the Lavender Scare.

Since early 2021, researchers have called for Nasa to change the telescope's name (JWST). More than 1,700 people have signed a petition in support of the telescope (JWST)

#GiveAway BY Insane

Do you know that we give away around $500 USD in cash prizes every week? 

The galaxy cluster SMACS0723 is the first colour image taken by Nasa's James Webb telescope.

Chanda Prescod Weinstein, assistant professor of Physics at the University of New Hampshire, was one of the four researchers who led the petition to rename. 

She tweeted on Monday: "As one of those people who has been leading a push to change the names, today feels bittersweet. I'm so excited about the new images and so angry at NasaHQ.

"Nasa leadership has stubbornly refused to acknowledge that what is now public info about JW's legacy means he does not merit having a great observatory named after him," she added.

Nasa declared that it would not change the telescope's name in September 2013. 

In September 2021, Nasa's current administrator Bill Nelson stated that there was no evidence to support changing the name of the James Webb space telescope.

Nature published 400 pages of internal Nasa documents in March. This was obtained via a Freedom of Information Request. 

It also included a white paper stating, "Nasa had determined that the removal of homosexual employees would become its policy." 

They could choose to change or set that policy during Webb's tenure as administrator.

Phil Plait, an American astronomer, wrote in his Bad Astronomy newsletter that "a lot of astronomers were very unhappy the observatory was named after him." 

It's hard to want to use an instrument if you know that you will have to write about it with the name of someone who tried to erase your existence."

Plait tweeted, "The observatory would produce incredible science and beautiful images. Certainly, the equivalent of anything Hubble's done." 

It's named after someone deeply entwined with bigotry and homophobia, and Nasa has ruined how they dealt with the situation.