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.

Looking deeply into space and time, two teams using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope have studied the exceptionally luminous galaxy GN-z11, which existed when our 13.8 billion-year-old universe was only about 430 million years old.

A rectangular image with thousands of galaxies of various shapes and colors on the black background of space. Some are noticeably spirals, either face-on or edge-on, while others are blobby ellipticals. Many are too small to discern any structure. One prominent foreground star at top center features Webb’s signature 8-point diffraction spikes. At lower right, a small region is highlighted with a white box. Vertical lines extend upward like a cone to the bottom corners of a larger box at upper right, showing a zoomed in version of the highlighted area. The pullout features a galaxy labeled GN-z11, seen as a fuzzy yellow dot. Above it is another galaxy, seen as a fuzzy red oval.
This image from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) instrument shows a portion of the GOODS-North field of galaxies. At lower right, a pullout highlights the galaxy GN-z11, which is seen at a time just 430 million years after the big bang. The image reveals an extended component, tracing the GN-z11 host galaxy, and a central compact source whose colors are consistent with those of an accretion disk surrounding a black hole.
NASA, ESA, CSA, Brant Robertson (UC Santa Cruz), Ben Johnson (CfA), Sandro Tacchella (Cambridge), Marcia Rieke (University of Arizona), Daniel Eisenstein (CfA)

Latest News

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Latest 2024 Images

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Webb Unlocks Secrets of One of the Most Distant Galaxies Ever Seen (GOODS-North Field, NIRCam Image, unannotated)
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…

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