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The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror, to be launched in 2018. It will be the premier observatory of the next decade, the biggest telescope ever launched into space.

The Webb will study: The End of the Dark Ages: First Light and Reionization, The Assembly of Galaxies, The Birth of Stars and Protoplanetary Systems, and Planetary Systems and the Origins of Life.

The primary mirrors undergo cryogenic testing at NASA Marshall.
credit Ball AerospaceThe primary mirrors undergo cryogenic testing at NASA Marshall.
Webb will be folded and stowed in the Ariane 5 spacecraft. Webb's solar panel is deployed about 1/2 hour after launch to provide power for the mission. Webb will get into final orbit by 90 days.
credit Northrop GrummanWebb will be folded and stowed in the Ariane 5 spacecraft. Webb's solar panel is deployed about 1/2 hour after launch to provide power for the mission. Webb will get into final orbit by 90 days.
Six primary mirror segments prior to cryogenic testing in the X-ray & Cryogenic Facility at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
credit NASA/MSFC/David HigginbothamSix primary mirror segments prior to cryogenic testing in the X-ray & Cryogenic Facility at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
The secondary mirror just after gold coating at Quantum Coating Incorporated.
credit Ball AerospaceThe secondary mirror just after gold coating at Quantum Coating Incorporated.
NIRSpec will be the principal spectrographic instrument aboard the Webb telescope (a spectrograph is an instrument that separates light into a spectrum). The NIRSpec's components will be sensitive to infrared light from a variety of astronomical objects ranging from the most distant galaxies to the relatively nearby exoplanets.
credit NASA/Chris GunnNIRSpec will be the principal spectrographic instrument aboard the Webb telescope (a spectrograph is an instrument that separates light into a spectrum). The NIRSpec's components will be sensitive to infrared light from a variety of astronomical objects ranging from the most distant galaxies to the relatively nearby exoplanets.
Comparison of Hubble and Webb primary mirrors.
credit NASAComparison of Hubble and Webb primary mirrors.
The four different types of mirrors. From left to right are: a primary mirror segment, the secondary mirror, tertiary mirror and the fine steering mirror. The bottom right shows an artist's conception of the Webb telescope optics.
credit NASA/Ball Aerospace/TinsleyThe four different types of mirrors. From left to right are: a primary mirror segment, the secondary mirror, tertiary mirror and the fine steering mirror. The bottom right shows an artist's conception of the Webb telescope optics.
The heart of the Near-Infrared Camera, a 16-megapixel mosaic of light sensors.
credit K. W. Don, University of ArizonaThe heart of the Near-Infrared Camera, a 16-megapixel mosaic of light sensors.
The sunshield is about the length of a tennis court, and will be folded up like an umbrella around the telescope’s mirrors and instruments during launch. The Sunshield separates the observatory into a warm sun-facing side and a cold side where the sunshine is blocked from interfering with the sensitive infrared instruments.
credit NASA/Chris GunnThe sunshield is about the length of a tennis court, and will be folded up like an umbrella around the telescope’s mirrors and instruments during launch. The Sunshield separates the observatory into a warm sun-facing side and a cold side where the sunshine is blocked from interfering with the sensitive infrared instruments.
Assembled final outlook.
credit NASAAssembled final outlook.

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06.09.2014by Robert Sugar

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