James Webb Space Telescope Launch Highlights: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was launched at 5:50 pm IST on December 25. Webb, NASA’s largest space science telescope ever constructed, will be the successor of the Hubble Space Telescope, that has been in service for more than three decades now.
Carrying four main scientific instruments, Near-Infrared Camera, Near-Infrared Spectrograph, Mid-Infrared Instrument, and Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph, Webb will “hunt for the unobserved formation of the first galaxies, as well as to look inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today,” according to NASA.
JWST has the ability to look in the infrared spectrum, which will allow it to peer through much deeper into the universe, and see through obstructions such as gas clouds.
NASA says Webb is not Hubble’s replacement but its successor, whose science goals were motivated by the results from Hubble. Webb will primarily study the universe in the infrared, while Hubble looks at it mainly at optical and ultraviolet wavelengths. Webb’s mirror is much larger than Hubble’s; it can, therefore, look farther back into time than Hubble. Also, Hubble is in a much closer orbit around Earth than Webb will be.