Telescopes from the Ground Up

Webb’s frigid temperatures are deliberate. Infrared telescopes must be kept extremely cold so that the heat from their own devices or nearby objects does not overwhelm the distant infrared radiation they are trying to detect. A sunshield the size of a tennis court will protect the telescope from light emitted by the Sun or reflected by Earth and the Moon.

A deeper view

The Webb telescope will see in infrared as well as Hubble sees in visible light. It will look at young galaxies and exploding stars in the early universe, disks of dust around stars that could be forming planets, and more. By using Webb to see the development of the early universe, astronomers hope to better understand how stars, planets, and galaxies came to be. The James Webb Space Telescope represents another step in astronomers’ eternal quest to see deeper into space.

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Space Telescopes