Looking Into the Webb Telescope

The history and exciting launch of one of the most important scientific creations of the 21st century

Griffin Ryckman, Staff Reporter

On December 25 2021, The James Webb Telescope was launched from Kourou, French Guiana. The James Webb telescope is the newest telescope launched from Earth, and with a mirror roughly 6 times bigger than the Hubble telescope, combined with the ability to see in infrared light, there is no doubt that it is the biggest and most advanced telescope launched into space to date. As you can imagine with any large event like this, here is a lot of excitement and curiosity surrounding this major event.

The telescope is a large leap in technology, compared to older telescopes like its predecessor,  the Hubble Space Telescope.  “The main difference is the mirror is about 6 times bigger. The James Webb also looks at infrared light rather than visible light,” Science teacher Bryan Tylkowski explains. “The Hubble Telescope was in Earth orbit, but the James Webb telescope is out beyond the moon,” Tylkowski explained. The James Webb is a big leap not only in technology but also as a big leap as a species, we will be able to see farther into space than we have ever seen before. The possibilities are endless.

It’s not to say that the telescope has had its fair share of problems in the past, though. With a large production cost, delays for over a decade, and an accidental drop only days before the launch,  it has been a long journey. “The telescope has been in production so long that I was able to see the telescope being built in 2012,” Tylkowski explained. “The telescope started development in 1996 and was supposed to be launched in 2007.” After 15 years of delays and accidents, it’s a very big milestone that the satellite was successfully launched and has reached its final destination of LaGrange point two on January 24, 2022, roughly 1.5 million kilometers away from Earth.

The possibilities are seemingly endless with the telescope, overall. We don’t know what we’ll find once we start getting pictures back from Webb, and that’s the exciting thing about it according to Tylkowski. “That is the exciting thing about this new tool, we do not know what we will find. I have no reason to believe that there is life beyond our planet, but we can see further with this telescope. Since we are looking into the unknown anything is possible. For a long time people did not believe life was possible at the deepest parts of the ocean. It wasn’t until technology allowed us to go down there that we were able to find life.” Tylkowski said. The possibilities are endless and what we can get back is beyond our imagination. This is arguably one of the biggest events in Human history. There is no telling what we’ll find out in space.