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

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.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has found the best evidence yet for emission from a neutron star at the site of a recently observed supernova. The supernova, known as SN 1987A, was a core-collapse supernova, meaning the compacted remains at its core formed either a neutron star or a black hole. Evidence for such a compact object has long been sought, and while indirect evidence for the presence of a neutron star has previously been found, this is the first time that the effects of high-energy emission from the probable young neutron star have been detected.

A three-panel image of a supernova remnant. The left panel is labeled “NIRCam” while the two right panels are labeled “MIRI M R S Argon two” (at top) and “NIRSpec I F U Argon six” (at bottom). At left, a mottled light pinkish-orange oval whose inner edge resembles a string of pearls. Within the oval is a dense blue-green cloud, shaped like a keyhole. Three stars with six-point diffraction patterns surround the oval. Above and below these structures, are very faint orange rings, which form a figure eight pattern. The center of the supernova remnant is surrounded by a white box with lines leading to the upper and lower right of the image, where two stacked panels show a bright orange ring with an orange dot in the middle. The upper panel is fuzzier and more blobby, while the bottom panel has more clearly defined edges around the ring and central dot.
The James Webb Space Telescope has observed the best evidence yet for emission from a neutron star at the site of a well-known and recently-observed supernova known as SN 1987A. At left is a NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) image released in 2023. The image at top right shows light from singly ionized argon (Argon II) captured by the Medium Resolution Spectrograph (MRS) mode of MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument). The image at bottom right shows light from multiply ionized argon captured by the NIRSpec (Near-Infrared Spectrograph). Both instruments show a strong signal from the center of the supernova remnant. This indicated to the science team that there is a source of high-energy radiation there, most likely a neutron star.
NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, C. Fransson (Stockholm University), M. Matsuura (Cardiff University), M. J. Barlow (University College London), P. J. Kavanagh (Maynooth University), J. Larsson (KTH Royal Institute of Technology)

Latest News

Webb's latest news releases in reverse chronological order.

Webb Finds Evidence for Neutron Star at Heart of Young Supernova Remnant

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has found the best evidence yet for emission from a neutron star at the site of a recently observed supernova. The supernova, known as SN 1987A, was a core-collapse supernova, meaning the compacted remains at…

Article1 week ago

NASA Astronomer Sees Power in Community, Works to Build More

Science is often portrayed as a solitary affair, where discoveries are made by lone geniuses toiling in isolation. But Dr. Natasha Batalha, an astronomer at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, says solving problems with the people around…

Article

What is Dark Energy? Inside our accelerating, expanding Universe

Some 13.8 billion years ago, the universe began with a rapid expansion we call the big bang. After this initial expansion, which lasted a fraction of a second, gravity started to slow the universe down. But the cosmos wouldn’t stay…

Article4 weeks ago

Discovery Alert: A ‘Super-Earth’ in the Habitable Zone

A newly discovered 'super-Earth' dwells in the habitable zone of its parent star – and might have a roughly Earth-sized companion.

Article1 month 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).

NGC 628
Featured Story

Webb Celebrates First Year of Science With Close-up on Birth of Sun-like Stars

From our cosmic backyard in the solar system to distant galaxies near the dawn of time, NASA’s James Webb Space…

Read the Story