On December 25, Christmas Day, a era of astronomers will behold the launch of the magnificent James Webb Space Telescope, a scientific observatory over 20 years and almost $10 billion within the making.
A collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency, the Webb telescope—named for the person who led NASA in the course of the lunar house race—is supposed to succeed the Hubble Space Telescope as America’s flagship observatory. It’s described as an engineering marvel: the most important house telescope to be constructed but, with 18 gold-plated mirrors to detect minute particulars, a cryo-cooler to stop overheating, and cutting-edge devices that may peer into the furthest corners of the huge universe, discovering unmapped celestial our bodies and looking for life on distant exoplanets.
So nice is its energy—100 occasions stronger than Hubble—that scientists say it might even time-travel again to the origins of the universe, simply after the Big Bang, capturing the very first stars and galaxies so far-off that the sunshine emitted from their deaths has but to achieve us. Along the best way, it might make clear the mysteries of supermassive black holes, darkish matter, alien worlds, and past, ushering in a brand new period for astronomy.
It’s now set to blast off into orbit across the solar, 1,000,000 miles from Earth. If you want to tune in, NASA will broadcast the launch, scheduled for 7:20 am EST on December 25 from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, live on its website and on its YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Twitch accounts.
NASA additionally maintains a telescope blog the place it’s going to submit updates concerning the launch.