JWST / WebbArtist's Impressions - Various

Artist's view of the JWST

Credits: ESA - D. Ducros

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The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is designed to expand the scientific success of Hubble. Being a 'cool' telescope, JWST is designed to operate at very low temperatures (around -230° C). This will give us an unprecedented view of the Universe at near and mid-infrared wavelengths and will allow scientists to study a wide variety of celestial objects, ranging from planets in the Solar System to nearby stars, from neighbouring galaxies out to the farthest reaches of the very distant Universe. JWST is required to operate for a minimum of five years, planned for ten. JWST will be launched on board an Ariane V ECA rocket from the European Spaceport of Kourou, in French Guiana. One technical challenge is trying to pack the 6.5-m telescope and the even larger sun-shield of the JWST into a 5 m diameter rocket, described as ‘a bit like designing a ship in a bottle’. As such, JWST will be launched in a folded position and will deploy once in space, during the first three weeks of its travel to its final orbit around the Lagrange point 2 (L2).

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Space Science