On the 25th December 2021, the James Webb telescope was launched into space. This telescope has been designed to be able to seek light from the first galaxies in the early universe and allow NASA to explore our Solar system and other planets orbiting other stars.
Before the telescope could start taking images and sending images back to Earth, it needed to unfold itself.
On the 4th January 2022, the sunshield on the telescope was deployed. The sunshield protects the telescope from the light and heat of the sun. The sunshield is crucial because it keeps the scientific instruments on the telescope at a temperature of -380 F (Fahrenheit) so that the telescope is cold enough to observe faint infrared light.
On the 8th January 2022, the mirror on the telescope was fully deployed. The mirror has 18 segments and each of these now needs to move to align the telescope optics; a process which is going to take a few months. Therefore, the first images will not be received until June or July.
Watch out for further news on the telescope in future newsletters.
Teacher of Science