7 Incredible Facts About the James Webb Telescope

August 21,2023

By Sonakshi Kandhari 

James Webb, the world's largest and most powerful telescope, embarked on an infrared astronomy mission on 25 December, 2021, studying the evolution of galaxies across time. Let's learn seven fascinating facts about it.

Image source: NASA

It Works Like a Time Travel Machine 

With it, one can observe the lights emitted by galaxies a million years ago. Photographs taken with infrared light enable the detection of the universe's first stars.

Image source: Pexels

Its Launch was No Different From Origami Art

Finding a suitable rocket for launch was difficult due to its massive size. Consequently, the telescope was folded, and it took two weeks to unfold in space after launch.

Image source: NASA

It Took 26 Years to Launch into Space

Initially proposed in 1996, the telescope faced unsuccessful launch attempts in 2007 and 2011 due to high costs. Successful testing was carried out in 2018, launching successfully in 2021.

Image source: NASA

It has Gold- Plated Mirror

The 21.3 feet telescope mirror, mainly composed of beryllium, is gold-plated since it best reflects infrared light. It weighs about 705 kilograms.

Image source: NASA

It Offers Razor Sharp Vision 

The telescope's exceptional vision allows it to spot a 0.75-diameter coin from 64 kilometres away, which is equivalent to seeing a football pitch from 550 kilometres away.

Image source: NASA

No, It's Not Serviceable 

Unlike the Hubble telescope, which was 600 kilometres away from the earth, the James Webb Telescope is 1.5 million kilometres away at the second sun-earth Lagrange point, making servicing impossible.

Image source: NASA

It's Sun shield is as Big as a Tennis Court 

Yes, that’s right! With a diameter of 69.5 feet and a radius of 46.5 feet, its sunshield is diamond-shaped and is equivalent to the size of a tennis court.

Image source: NASA