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.

Peering deeply into the cosmos, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is giving scientists their first detailed glimpse of supernovae from a time when our universe was just a small fraction of its current age. A team using Webb data has identified 10 times more supernovae in the early universe than were previously known. A few of the newfound exploding stars are the most distant examples of their type, including those used to measure the universe's expansion rate.

"Webb is a supernova discovery machine," said Christa DeCoursey, a third-year graduate student at the Steward Observatory and the University of Arizona in Tucson. “The sheer number of detections plus the great distances to these supernovae are the two most exciting outcomes from our survey.”

Space telescope image showing hundreds of objects of different colors, shapes, and sizes scattered across the black background of space, with about 80 of the objects circled in green.
The JADES Deep Field uses observations taken by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) as part of the JADES (JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey) program. A team of astronomers studying JADES data identified about 80 objects (circled in green) that changed in brightness over time. Most of these objects, known as transients, are the result of exploding stars or supernovae. Prior to this survey, only a handful of supernovae had been found above a redshift of 2, which corresponds to when the universe was only 3.3 billion years old — just 25% of its current age. The JADES sample contains many supernovae that exploded even further in the past, when the universe was less than 2 billion years old. It includes the farthest one ever spectroscopically confirmed, at a redshift of 3.6. Its progenitor star exploded when the universe was only 1.8 billion years old.
NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, JADES Collaboration

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    JADES Deep Field with transients circled.

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    JADES Deep Field with transients circled.

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Latest News

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

The Crab Nebula. An oval with complex structure extends from lower left to upper right against a black background. On the oval’s exterior lie curtains of glowing yellow and green fluffy material. Its interior shell shows large-scale loops of mottled filaments of yellow-white and green, studded with clumps and knots. Translucent thin ribbons of smoky blue lie within the remnant’s interior, brightest toward its center. The blue material follows different directions throughout, including sometimes sharply curving away from certain regions within the remnant. A faint, wispy ring of blue material encircles the very center of the nebula. Around and within the supernova remnant are many points of blue, green, purple, and white light.

Investigating the Origins of the Crab Nebula With NASA’s Webb

New data revises our view of this unusual supernova explosion. A team of scientists used NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to parse the composition of the Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant located 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. With…

Article19 hours ago

NASA’s Webb Reveals Long-Studied Star Is Actually Twins

Managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory through launch, Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument also revealed jets of gas flowing into space from the twin stars. Scientists recently got a big surprise from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope when they turned the observatory…

Article5 days ago
Webb Space telescope deep field image showing hundreds of objects of different colors, shapes, and sizes scattered across the black background of space.

NASA’s Webb Opens New Window on Supernova Science

Peering deeply into the cosmos, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is giving scientists their first detailed glimpse of supernovae from a time when our universe was just a small fraction of its current age. A team using Webb data has…

Article1 week ago
A yellowish star is at the center of the image. It is surrounded by a mottled disk of gas and dust that transitions from bright yellow to darker orange as you move outward. The disk stretches from about 8 o'clock to 2 o'clock and is tilted so that the nearer side is toward the viewer.

Webb Finds Plethora of Carbon Molecules Around Young Star

An international team of astronomers has used NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to study the disk of gas and dust around a young, very low-mass star. The results reveal the largest number of carbon-containing molecules seen to date in such…

Article2 weeks ago


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Cas A - Chandra/Webb/Hubble/Spitzer composite