Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket launches with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope onboard, Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021, from the ELA-3 Launch Zone of Europe’s Spaceport at the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST or Webb) is a large infrared telescope with a 21.3 foot (6.5 meter) primary mirror. The observatory will study every phase of cosmic history—from within our solar system to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

James Webb Space Telescope Launch

Arianespace's Ariane 5 rocket launches with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope onboard, Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021, from the ELA-3 Launch Zone of Europe’s Spaceport at the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST or Webb) is a large infrared telescope with a 21.3 foot (6.5 meter) primary mirror. The observatory will study every phase of cosmic history—from within our solar system to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Photo by: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA/Bill Ingalls

James Webb Space Telescope Successfully Reached Its Final Destination

Nearly a month after the James Webb Space Telescope launched from French Guiana on December 25, the telescope has reached its final destination–almost a million miles from Earth.

January 24, 2022

Updated My 4, 2022

After beginning the alignment process in February 2022, the mirror alignment is complete six weeks after liftoff. Each of Webb’s 18 mirror segments made adjustments so ground controllers could focus all mirrors to view a star. After those 18 points link to the target image the segments could combine their data to produce a single image.

To be able to capture the best images, Webb Telescope’s mirror segments must align themselves to within 50 nanometers of each other. As NASA describes it, “if the Webb primary mirror were the size of the United States, each segment would be the size of Texas, and the team would need to line the height of those Texas-sized segments up with each other to an accuracy of about 1.5 inches.”

After this extraordinary feat, Webb Telescope has one more challenge left before science operations can commence, a phase called instrument commissioning. If the next phase continues smoothly Webb could be capturing images as early as July 2022.

January 24, 2022

"Webb, welcome home!" said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in a statement. "Congratulations to the team for all of their hard work ensuring Webb's safe arrival at L2 today. We're one step closer to uncovering the mysteries of the universe. And I can't wait to see Webb's first new views of the universe this summer!"

The James Webb Telescope (JWST) is an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency. Named after former-NASA administrator James E. Webb, the telescope is set to be the premier observatory of the next decade.

JWST Journey to Space

All Aboard the James Webb Space Telescope!

All hail the James Webb, the ultra-powerful super-telescope for the next generation. Or for about 5-10 years when its fuel runs out.

25 Years In the Making, the James Webb Telescope Is Coming to Science Channel

The world’s most powerful observatory - the James Webb Space Telescope – launched this month after more than 25 years of development and construction. Science Channel, the leader of all things space, will take viewers inside this incredible feat of technology and its launch with two specials.

The James Webb Space Telescope Launches!

Finally! It was initially proposed way back in 1998 and named the James Webb Space Telescope in 2002. After a decade of delays and over 10 billion dollars past its original budget, NASA’s next great observatory finally launched from the European Space Agency’s Guiana Space Centre in South America.

The JWST's point of observation is beyond the moon, and scientists expect the telescope will help study the universe in new ways. From the Big Bang to the evolution of planet Earth, Webb will study "every phase in the history of our Universe."

Serving thousands of astronomers worldwide, Webb uses innovative technologies like a tennis court-sized sunshield and programmable microshutters which can observe 100 different objects at once.

On Monday, the space telescope experienced its final burn, entering an orbit called L2. L2 was chosen as an ideal point for Webb due to the gravitational forces of the sun and Earth, which will keep the spacecraft in orbit without having to use much energy.

How did NASA pull off this feat of engineering? Here's what happened.

And just like that, the James Webb Space Telescope reached its final destination. Congratulations to NASA on a successful mission.

Next Up

It’s Not You, It’s Me: How a Planet Left Our Solar System

Sometimes you just know. Something clicks, you have a realization that this relationship isn’t right, and it’s simply time to go. It can happen to anyone, at any time, even to planets, and even billions of years ago.

What We’ve Already Learned From James Webb? (Hint: it’s a lot)

That was worth the wait. Just a quick handful of months since its historic launch on Christmas Day, the James Webb Space Telescope has flown to its observing position, unfolded its delicate instruments and ultra-sized mirror, and run through a suite of checks and alignments and calibrations. The team at NASA behind the telescopes released their first batch of images from the science runs, and besides being gorgeous, they're powerful.

How Do We Know How Old the Sun Is?

Scientists estimate that our Sun is about 4.57 billion years old. They’re surprisingly confident about that number, too, which opens up an immediate question: how do we know that? The short answer is “a lot of science and math”, but I have a feeling you’re not here for the short answer.

This Year, James Webb will Take a Close Look at a Lava World

The James Webb Space Telescope is gearing up to be an exoplanet extraordinaire. Among many other missions and targets, astronomers plan to use the observatory, now in its final stages of preparations to study…well, a world where it might rain lava.

Why Astronomers Care About Super-Old Galaxies?

A long time ago, our universe was dark.It was just 380,000 years after the big bang. Up until that age, our entire observable cosmos was less than a millionth of its present size. All the material in the universe was compressed into that tiny volume, forcing it to heat up and become a plasma. But as the universe expanded and cooled, eventually the plasma changed into a neutral gas as the first atoms formed.

Got You! Astronomers Find an Especially Sneaky Black Hole

Black holes are tricky creatures. Since ancient times the practice of astronomy has been to point our eyes and instruments at all the glowing things in the skies above us. But black holes are defined by the fact that nothing, not even light, can escape their gravitational clutches. So how you do see something that is completely, totally black?

Behold, the Sun as You’ve Never Seen It Before

The European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter reached the halfway point between the Earth and the Sun to snap an amazing super-high-res picture. You can zoom in on the image to reveal the stunning details of the Sun’s surface. It’s like a Google Earth…but for the Sun.

This Little Star Made a Blast Bigger Than Our Sun Ever Could

Small stars can pack a surprisingly powerful punch. For an example look no further than the nearest neighbor to our solar system, Proxima Centauri. This little red dwarf just sent off a blast a hundred times more powerful than anything that our own sun ever has.

What Happens When the Sun Throws a Tantrum?

Sure, the sun looks all calm up there in the sky. Kids even put little smiley faces on the sun when they draw it. But look closer and you’ll find that our sun has a nasty, violent temper.

There’s a Hole in Our Galaxy

Folks, we just found a 500-lightyear-wide hole in our galaxy. Fess up: which one of you did it?

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