Planet Talk

James Webb Space Telescope

This Christmas, there were several new astronomical developments. NASA launched a new telescope, known as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). This infrared space observatory telescope is set to expose the history of the universe as we know it. The launching of this device will enable scientists to explore the formation of stars and planets in our solar system. This telescope has the capabilities to advance space discovery, far better than even the Hubble telescope.

NASA claims that the James Webb telescope will not replace Hubble, but it will simply act as a “successor”. The two telescopes are rather different, as they were designed to accomplish different tasks. While Hubble observes light at optical and ultraviolet wavelengths, the James Webb telescope focuses on using infrared light. The JWST also has a much more powerful mirror (6.5 meters in diameter), allowing astronomists to look further into space. Additionally, while the Hubble Space Telescope orbits around the Earth at an altitude of ~570 km, the James Webb telescope will simply remain at a spot much further away.

NASA Invites Public to Share Excitement of Webb Space Telescope Launch |  NASA
The James Webb Space Telescope

Currently, the telescope is unwrapping its sunshield and optics, prepping to observe the galaxy like never before. Although the JWST has begun its deployment, it is still far from its observing location. It will take 29 days for the telescope to travel to its observing spot, called Lagrange point 2 (L2), which is nearly 1 million miles away. At this point, the James Webb Space Telescope will remain above the Earth at a spot opposite from the Sun.

There is much hope for the James Webb Space Telescope, despite the fact that it will only begin to provide its best images six months after launch. Until then, we might be able to receive some “first light” images from NASA’s largest and most powerful space science telescope.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top