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.

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…

Article2 days 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…

Article6 days ago
This illustration is awash in bright blues, with only areas of the black background of space peeking out near the edges. Just above center is a large white spiral galaxy that is forming within a large cloud of blue gas. Its spiral arms twirl clockwise. Immediately around the galaxy’s edges are larger light blue dots. The gas appears thicker and brighter blue below the galaxy and toward the bottom left in what looks like a loose, extended column. Other wispy blue gas appears all around the galaxy, extending to every edge of the illustration. There are two additional spiral galaxies, though they are about half the size of the one at the center. They appear toward the top left and bottom right, and both are connected to regions of blue gas. Several bright knots dot the brightest blue areas near the center, and toward the top right. The background is clearer and more obviously black along a wider area at the left edge, a sliver along the top right, and in triangles toward the bottom right corner.

Galaxies Actively Forming in Early Universe Caught Feeding on Cold Gas

Researchers analyzing data from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope have pinpointed three galaxies that may be actively forming when the universe was only 400 to 600 million years old. Webb’s data shows these galaxies are surrounded by gas that the…

Article3 weeks ago
Space scene of a thin atmosphere version of Gliese 12 b

NASA’s TESS Finds Intriguing World Sized Between Earth, Venus

Using observations by NASA’s TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) and many other facilities, two international teams of astronomers have discovered a planet between the sizes of Earth and Venus only 40 light-years away. Multiple factors make it a candidate well-suited…

Article3 weeks ago


Latest 2024 Images

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Cas A - Chandra/Webb/Hubble/Spitzer composite