What is the James Webb Space Telescope?

Scientist testing the James Webb Space Telescope.

What if you could discover a new planet? Or maybe you want to understand how a star is formed. The James Webb Space Telescope was developed to make these things, and more, possible. The telescope, often called The Webb, was created to study the most distant places and objects in the universe. It was launched into space on December 25, 2021. The telescope is orbiting the Sun about a million miles from Earth. It has a main mirror that is more than 21 feet wide. Because it is so large, it was designed so that it could fold and fit inside a rocket. The telescope was named after James E. Webb, who was a director at NASA. He created the Apollo program that sent astronauts to the moon!

The James Webb Space Telescope is an infrared observatory. It will see things that cannot normally be seen by the human eye. Infrared vision is used to see heat. The telescope has a large sunshield to protect it and keep it cool and dark. Engineers designed The Webb so that it can point its mirrors in different directions. Their goal is to study stars and other galaxies. They might even discover alien life!

What Do You Think? Why do you think scientists use infrared light to study space?

What Do You Think?

Photo Credit: (t)NASA, (b)Zakharchuk / Shutterstock