James Webb – The Science Christmas Present

It doesn’t get much bigger than this. The James Webb Telescope was launched on Christmas Day and it will offer us a new, deeper glimpse at the cosmos than ever before. Hubble’s successor is now on its way to the second Lagrange point, 1.5 million KM from earth, and over the next few months it will unfurl its sail and begin its mission to probe both local mysteries and peer at the earliest light from the first stars to form in the universe. It is hoped this magnificent telescope will unlock the secrets of how galaxies formed, and it may even help us detect signs of alien life here in the Milky Way.

Named after James Webb, the second person to head up NASA (and the man who oversaw the Apollo program), this telescope is considerably bigger than Hubble, yet also lighter, and will operate a lot further out from the earth, where it can be kept a lot cooler (which is vital for its instruments).

As you can see, the mirror is a lot bigger, and this is key for how James Webb will be able to explore the universe. The next few years are going to be very exciting!

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