Top Ten Facts about the James Webb Space Telescope



The James Webb Space Telescope is the next premier space observatory. It will extend the discoveries of the Hubble Space telescope. And observe the birthplaces of planets, stars and galaxies. It is named after James Webb. NASA’s second administrator and champion of many NASA science missions. At 3 stories high and the size of a tennis court, it will be the largest telescope ever sent into space. And 100 times more powerful than Hubble. It is so big it has to fold to fit in the rocket only 5.5 meters wide. And unfold segment by segment, once in space. Webb’s mirrors are coated with a super thin layer of gold that is about 1000 atoms thick to optimize their reflectivity in the infrared. Webb will launch from French Guiana in 2018. It is launched near the equator because the faster spin of Earth there gives the rocket an extra push. Webb will orbit the sun 1 million miles from Earth at the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point , where the telescope will operate below -390 F. The telescope will observe infrared light with unprecedented sensitivity. It will see the first galaxies born after the Big Bang over 13.5 billion years ago. Webb's infrared cameras are so sensitive they must block light from the Sun, Earth, and Moon. The 5-layer sunshield is like having sunblock of SPF 1 million. Webb is an international mission, with contributions from the European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency. Scientists all over the world will be able to use Webb to further into space and back into time than ever before.