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James Webb Telescope by Anagha Lokesh, VA

Updated: Feb 27

The James Webb Telescope, also known as JWST or Webb, was first launched on December 25th, 2021 at 7:20 AM EST on the northeastern south coast of South America. Since the Webb Telescope has been launched it has shown us so many aspects and perspectives of our universe that we haven’t seen before. From the very beginnings of our universe, to sending pictures of how new galaxies are forming the Webb Telescope is truly an amazing technological development. The James Webb telescope was sent up to space to accompany the Hubble Telescope in helping us discover more about space. Webb is the most technologically advanced telescope that NASA has ever built and does have some unique features that sets it apart from Hubble.

First off, the Webb telescope is a lot bigger in size due to its hexagonal shaped mirror, and absorbs almost six times the light as Hubble does. To make a comparison, Webb is the size of a large tennis court, and Hubble is the size of a school bus. Another thing that sets the two telescopes apart is the way that they are processing light through their mirrors. Hubble focuses mainly on the light that we can see with our eyes, while the Webb telescope processes infrared light, which is what cold stars and planets shine the most brightly through. Many of the first galaxies have had their light stretched to infrared lights by the time it reaches Webb so it is more clear to see them through an infrared lens.

Above is a picture of the Eagle Nebula, taken by Hubble, as shown through visible light (left) and through an infrared lens light (right). Looking and observing the galaxy through infrared lights help scientists better understand the stars and galaxies. (Credit NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

There is also a difference in terms of how both telescopes orbit as well. The Hubble Telescope orbits right above the Earth’s atmosphere at 332 miles above Earth, while the Webb telescope orbits around the Sun with the Earth, nearly 1 million miles away. Because of this, it’s a lot easier to do repairs on the Hubble Telescope if anything goes wrong with it, than it is with the Webb, since Webb is so far out.

The James Webb telescope is really a sight to marvel at with all of the cutting edge technology it has, and its ability to capture the beautiful and knowledge trove of infrared images. These images that the Webb telescope is processing for us will truly change our research on how our universe works, by taking a deeper dive into how our stars and galaxies are formed. Alongside the Hubble, Webb will go on to make fascinating and revolutionary findings that will help our research for the best.

This is the LEDA 2046648, which is located about a billion years away from Earth, and near the Hercules constellation. This was named the photo of the month in January 2023, and all of the radiant stars surrounding LEDA 2046648 were captured through Webb’s six pointed diffraction spikes. Credit: ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, A. Martel

Reply to this article, and let me know your favorite James Webb picture!

Next week’s topic will be about the Green Comet!


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