James Webb Telescope

JWST deployed on Christmas 2021 and has just now arrived to its observation point. Now that is is fully assembled it will take almost five months for the telescope to cool down to operational levels. Then perhaps another two months of testing before the first images are released to the public.

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  • Cosmic timeline.

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Gwen Brown, Staff Writer

The scientific world has been abuzz lately about an engineering marvel called the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) that could alter the way we look at space and time. But who was James Webb? And how will the telescope named for him affect our understanding of the universe? 


James E. Webb

James Webb helped launch more than 75 space missions during his time as the second administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the 1960s. Webb was an incredibly important administrator; this prolific space pioneer helped envision the American space program during the Cold War when we were battling the Russians for supremacy. According to NASA, he was the most obvious choice when naming their new telescope, which has been sent as a successor to the Hubble telescope to look back further into the dark depths of Creation’s nursery. 

The JWST, deployed at Christmas and just now arriving at its observation point, is one of the most complicated devices ever constructed by man. NASA says it will take approximately seven more months to become operational, so the first clear images will likely not be released to the public until this summer. 

Distance from James Webb Telescope to Earth.

“Webb will use the infrared spectrum to look back at the light from slightly after the Big Bang,” says NASA. “This will help scientists get closer to answering the question of how did the universe really begin? Also, the discoveries made during the planning for JWST have already paid dividends to mankind in the way of micronization and smaller more complicated electric circuits, better-designed optics, and more precision lens making.”