James Webb Space Telescope

Webb is the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It studies every phase in the history of our Universe.

active Mission
A montage of the Webb Space Telescope over a composited background of stars and galaxies.

Webb studies every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System. Webb launched on Dec. 25th 2021. It does not orbit around the Earth like the Hubble Space Telescope, it orbits the Sun 1.5 million kilometers (1 million miles) away from the Earth at what is called the second Lagrange point or L2. 

Mission Type

Astrophysics

Partners

NASA/ESA/CSA

Launch

Dec 25, 2021

Arrival at L2

Jan 24, 2022

Key Facts

This image is from Webb’s NIRCam instrument, which saw this nebula in the near-infrared.

extending the tantalizing discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Engineers Prep James Webb Telescope for Integration

So big it has to fold origami-style to fit in the rocket and will unfold like a “Transformer” in space.

Webb Lagrange Points

Webb orbits the Sun 1.5 million kilometers from the Earth. (Hubble orbits 560 kilometers above the Earth.)

NASA’s Webb Sunshield Successfully Unfolds and Tensions in Final Tests

Webb has a 5-layer sunshield that protects the telescope from the infrared radiation of the Sun, Earth, and Moon; like having sun protection of SPF 1 million.

The image shows the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago

iIt will peer back in time over 13.5 billion years to see the first galaxies born after the Big Bang.in the ISS.

Near-infrared spectral analysis of terminator confirms differences in morning and evening atmosphere

Researchers using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope have finally confirmed what models have previously predicted: An exoplanet has differences between its eternal morning and eternal evening atmosphere. WASP-39 b, a giant planet with a diameter 1.3 times greater than Jupiter, but similar mass to Saturn that orbits a star about 700 light-years away from Earth, is tidally locked to its parent star. This means it has a constant dayside and a constant nightside—one side of the planet is always exposed to its star, while the other is always shrouded in darkness.

Illustration of a planet, zoomed in on the planet’s dayside/nightside boundary. The planet encompasses takes up the full image. At the bottom left, the image is dark, depicting the nightside covering the planet in a dark shadow. In the right side of the image, the planet has a fuzzy orange-pink atmosphere with hints of latitudinal wispy cloud bands. The right upper corner is bright, where the star (not illustrated) shines.
This artist’s concept shows what the exoplanet WASP-39 b could look like based on indirect transit observations from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope as well as other space- and ground-based telescopes. Data collected by Webb’s NIRSpec (Near-Infrared Spectrograph) show variations between the eternal morning and evening atmosphere of the planet.
NASA, ESA, CSA, R. Crawford (STScI)

Latest News

Webb's latest news releases in reverse chronological order. Search and sort the news feed with the controls immediately below.

Illustration of a planet, zoomed in on the planet’s dayside/nightside boundary. The planet encompasses takes up the full image. At the bottom left, the image is dark, depicting the nightside covering the planet in a dark shadow. In the right side of the image, the planet has a fuzzy orange-pink atmosphere with hints of latitudinal wispy cloud bands. The right upper corner is bright, where the star (not illustrated) shines.

NASA’s Webb Investigates Eternal Sunrises, Sunsets on Distant World

Near-infrared spectral analysis of terminator confirms differences in morning and evening atmosphere Researchers using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope have finally confirmed what models have previously predicted: An exoplanet has differences between its eternal morning and eternal evening atmosphere. WASP-39…

Article1 week ago
Arp 142, two interacting galaxies, observed in near- and mid-infrared light. At left is NGC 2937, nicknamed the Egg. Its center is the brighter and whiter. There are six diffraction spikes atop its gauzy blue layers. At right is NGC 2936, nicknamed the Penguin. Its beak-like region points toward and above the Egg. Where the eye would be is a small, opaque yellow spiral. The Penguin’s distorted arms form the bird’s beak, back, and tail. The tail is wide and layered, like a beta fish’s tail. A semi-transparent blue hue traces the Penguin and extends from the galaxy, creating an upside-down U over top of both galaxies. At top right is another galaxy seen from the side, pointing roughly at a 45-degree angle. It is largely light blue. Its length appears approximately as long as the Egg’s height. One foreground star with large, bright blue diffraction spikes appears over top of the galaxy and another near it. The entire black background is filled with tiny, extremely distant galaxies.

Vivid Portrait of Interacting Galaxies Marks Webb’s Second Anniversary

Two for two! A duo of interacting galaxies commemorates the second science anniversary of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which takes constant observations, including images and highly detailed data known as spectra. Its operations have led to a “parade” of…

Article2 weeks ago
Dr. Begoña Vila, Instrument Systems Engineer, James Webb Space Telescope

NASA’s Begoña Vila Awarded 2024 Galician Excellence Award

Begoña Vila, an instrument systems engineer from KBR who worked on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, has been selected to receive the 2024 Galician Excellence Title in the Sciences and Medicine Category for her career and work on Webb. This award…

Article2 weeks ago
A growing protostar embedded within a molecular cloud. The center of the image shows a bright, red region, where the growing protostar resides, with a thin, gray lane of matter cutting through it horizontally, which is the protostar’s accretion disk. Above and below this region are blue triangular-shaped molecular clouds, which give the overall object an hourglass shape. The areas in the molecular clouds closest to the protostar have more pronounced plumes of blue gas. There are red, yellow, orange, blue, and green stars and galaxies scattered across the background.

NASA’s Webb Captures Celestial Fireworks Around Forming Star

The colors within this mid-infrared image reveal details about the central protostar’s behavior. The cosmos seems to come alive with a crackling explosion of pyrotechnics in this new image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Taken with Webb’s MIRI (Mid-Infrared…

Article3 weeks ago


Latest 2024 Images

The image below is a SLIDESHOW. Hover over the image to see the image title and controls. Click the image to go to a detail page with more info and the ability to download the image at various resolutions (click downward arrow in lower right corner).

Vivid Portrait of Interacting Galaxies Marks Webb's Second Anniversary (NIRCam and MIRI)