James Webb Space Telescope set to launch December 25

Ashley Bu, Reporter

NASA announced the James Webb Space Telescope will launch on December 25th of 2021. 

The telescope will lift off from the French Guiana Space Center and will spend around 30 days progressing to the second Lagrange point, an area 900,000 miles out from Earth’s orbit where a satellite would be stabilized in orbit. Once it reaches its destination, it will stay there for an estimated ten years to capture images. According to the European Space Agency, the Ariane 5 rocket will be used to get the telescope into space.

The purpose of the telescope is to learn about the origins of the universe and search for possible life beyond the Earth. To do so, it will reflect light off a primary mirror that is made up of 18 hexagons that are each 1.32 meters in diameter, according to the European Space Agency. By traveling away from the Earth’s atmosphere, it will be able to see objects an estimated 200 million years after the perceived start of the universe.

The James Webb Telescope will mainly focus on objects in the non visible infrared spectrum, similar to the Spitzer Space Telescope. It is one of NASA’s largest space telescopes and will travel almost a million miles further than Hubble.

NASA called the telescope a “scientific successor” to the Hubble Space Telescope, and their idea for the James Webb was due to the images captured from Hubble. They hope that the telescope will be able to discover more than Hubble has.

At approximately 7:20 AM in eastern standard time on December 25th, it will lift off. The live stream of the launch will be shown on the NASA website.

Scientists at NASA construct the mirror of the telescope. NASA and other space agencies have been working on the James Webb since its conception in 1995. (NASA/Chris Gunn)