Hubble, Roman and Webb Space Telescopes Infographic

  • Released Monday, April 20th, 2020
  • Updated Tuesday, December 19th, 2023 at 10:16AM

This infographic shows the complementary capabilities of select instruments on three of NASA's flagship missions: the Hubble Space Telescope and the currently under development Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope and James Webb Space Telescope. Hubble views the cosmos in infrared, visible and ultraviolet light, providing a more comprehensive, high-resolution view of individual objects. The Roman Space Telescope will expand on Hubble’s infrared observations specifically, using a much larger field of view to create enormous panoramas of the universe with the same high resolution. Webb will also conduct high-resolution infrared observations, peering across farther stretches of space with a narrower field of view.Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

This infographic shows the complementary capabilities of select instruments on three of NASA's flagship missions: the Hubble Space Telescope and the currently under development Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope and James Webb Space Telescope. Hubble views the cosmos in infrared, visible and ultraviolet light, providing a more comprehensive, high-resolution view of individual objects. The Roman Space Telescope will expand on Hubble’s infrared observations specifically, using a much larger field of view to create enormous panoramas of the universe with the same high resolution. Webb will also conduct high-resolution infrared observations, peering across farther stretches of space with a narrower field of view.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, formerly called the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), planned for launch in the mid-2020s, will create enormous cosmic panoramas. Using them, astronomers will explore everything from our solar system to the edge of the observable universe, including planets throughout our galaxy and the nature of dark energy.

Though it’s often compared to the Hubble Space Telescope, The Roman Space Telescope will study the cosmos in a unique and complementary way.

Thirty years after its launch, Hubble continues to provide us with stunning, detailed images of the universe. When WFIRST opens its eyes to the cosmos, it will generate much larger images while matching Hubble’s crisp infrared resolution.

Hubble adds to our picture of the universe in ways the Roman Space Telescope can’t by using ultraviolet vision that captures the high-resolution details, and by providing more specialized features for in-depth study of the light emitted by individual objects. WFIRST provides a more general capability in covering wide areas at visible and infrared wavelengths.

Each Roman Space Telescope image will capture a patch of the sky bigger than the apparent size of a full Moon. Hubble’s widest exposures, taken with its Advanced Camera for Surveys, are nearly 100 times smaller. Over the first five years of observations, the Roman Space Telescope will image over 50 times as much sky as Hubble has covered so far in 30 years.​

The James Webb Space Telescope is an orbiting infrared observatory now being built that will also complement and extend the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope, with longer wavelength coverage and greatly improved sensitivity. The longer wavelengths enable Webb to look much closer to the beginning of time and to hunt for the unobserved formation of the first galaxies, as well as to look inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today.

The Roman Space Telescope and Webb benefit from an additional 30 years of major technological advances, however Hubble will continue to transform our understanding of the universe. In the coming years, the Roman Space Telescope's enormous infrared surveys will reveal interesting targets for follow up by other missions. Hubble can view the targets in additional wavelengths of light and will provide the only high-resolution view of the ultraviolet universe. The James Webb Space Telescope can make detailed observations that go even further into the infrared with its high-resolution, zoomed in view. Combining the the Roman Space Telescope's findings with Hubble’s and Webb’s could revolutionize our understanding in a multitude of cosmic pursuits.

The Hubble Space Telescope provides a high-resolution view of the cosmos in infrared, visible and ultraviolet light. This infographic highlights some of the telescope’s key features, specifically focusing on the Wide Field Camera 3 instrument. Using this instrument and others, Hubble has transformed our understanding of the universe for three decades and will continue to answer astronomical questions for years to come.Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

The Hubble Space Telescope provides a high-resolution view of the cosmos in infrared, visible and ultraviolet light. This infographic highlights some of the telescope’s key features, specifically focusing on the Wide Field Camera 3 instrument. Using this instrument and others, Hubble has transformed our understanding of the universe for three decades and will continue to answer astronomical questions for years to come.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, formerly known as WFIRST, will create enormous cosmic panoramas. This infographic shows how the mission's primary detector, the Wide Field Instrument (WFI), will help astronomers explore the infrared universe. The Roman Space Telescope's expansive surveys will help answer some of the most compelling questions in astrophysics and reveal many interesting targets for follow up by other missions.Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

The Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, formerly known as WFIRST, will create enormous cosmic panoramas. This infographic shows how the mission's primary detector, the Wide Field Instrument (WFI), will help astronomers explore the infrared universe. The Roman Space Telescope's expansive surveys will help answer some of the most compelling questions in astrophysics and reveal many interesting targets for follow up by other missions.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

The James Webb Space Telescope is an orbiting infrared observatory that will study every phase in the history of our universe. This infographic highlights the mission’s primary imager — the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam). Using NIRCAM and its other instruments, Webb will provide high-resolution observations of an array of cosmic objects.Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

The James Webb Space Telescope is an orbiting infrared observatory that will study every phase in the history of our universe. This infographic highlights the mission’s primary imager — the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam). Using NIRCAM and its other instruments, Webb will provide high-resolution observations of an array of cosmic objects.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

This version of the infographic compares Roman and Webb.  It keeps the Roman field of view graphic more complete than a crop of the Hubble, Roman, Webb infographic would.Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

This version of the infographic compares Roman and Webb. It keeps the Roman field of view graphic more complete than a crop of the Hubble, Roman, Webb infographic would.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center



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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


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