Launched in 2009, the James Webb Space Telescope will observe galaxies at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers in the infrared. It will also look 2.5 million years into the past to study individual stars in the Andromeda Galaxy, our nearest big galaxy.
- First full color, science-quality images of JWST
- COSMOS-Webb: mapping the earliest structures of the Universe
- Unearthing the fossilized Andromeda Galaxy
- Star formation in the Milky Way, Large Magellanic Cloud, and Small Magellanic Cloud
- Trappist-1: checking the atmosphere of an exoplanet system
- Discovering the composition of icy bodies beyond Neptune
Space telescopes are like time machines because light takes time to travel. The speed of light means we can look back in time and see what the sun looked like eight minutes ago. A new telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, has:
- Delivered its first, full color, science-quality images
- 50 successful deployments
- Traveled one million miles from Earth
- Calibrating and cooling to nearly absolute zero
We have over a year of planned observations, including galaxies as far away as possible, star-forming regions, the Trappist-1 system, and objects orbiting beyond the orbit of Neptune. We hope to uncover the greatest mysteries of the Universe today.
Galaxies and the universe, as seen by JWST
With the James Webb Space Telescope, we’ll be able to see galaxies that are 13.5 billion years old and learn a lot about the early Universe. There are four instruments on the telescope. We will use two of them to look back 2.5 million years and study the structure of individual stars in our nearest large galaxy, the Andromeda galaxy.
JWST will allow scientists to look into massive star-forming regions. In addition, to witness star birth more clearly than ever before.
With the help of the James Webb Space Telescope, scientists can begin to understand the evolution of the Universe. Starting with the first cold gas and dust lying around millions of years after the Big Bang.
Our nearest large galaxy, the Andromeda Galaxy, will be studied using infrared light from the James Webb Space Telescope. The possibility exists to turn back the clock on the physics of our universe if we connect all the dots.
Frequently asked questions
What is an infrared telescope?
Astronomers use telescopes and instruments optimized for infrared light to study the earliest star and galaxy formations in the universe. Unfortunately, Star and planet formation in our local universe occurs in dense, dusty clouds, so they’re not visible to our eyes.
Infrared wavelengths allow JWST to see galaxies that formed early in the Universe and peer into dust clouds where stars and planets are forming.
What is the difference between Hubble and Space Telescope?
Webb’s main mirror measures 6.5 meters, compared to Hubble’s 2.4 meters. As a result, the Webb telescope can gather seven times more light and look deeper into the past. In addition, Webb features cameras that detect infrared or “thermal” radiation. Light normally in visible wavelengths shifts to longer infrared wavelengths that are invisible to us because of the universe’s expansion.
In contrast, the Hubble telescope is in low Earth orbit, where astronauts can visit and fix broken parts or install new ones. As a result, it lived longer than expected.
Webb will use four science instruments to take images and spectra of astronomical objects, most of which are in the infrared range. First, Hubble will study the visible and ultraviolet regions. Then Hubble can see the equivalent of “infant galaxies,” while Webb will see “baby galaxies” because it is an infrared telescope.