James Webb in its basic form is an orbiting infrared observatory that will investigate the thermal radiation of space objects. It is specifically made to answer the fundamental question of where it all started, how the Big Bang created the universe?

The true Scale of JWST

Why do we need to have a Telescope in Space?

In simple terms, we need telescopes in space because of the clarity that they provide for taking superior-high-quality images which can’t be achieved by any telescope on the ground irrespective of the ability. If we try to capture images of the distant galaxies, the visible rays coming from infinity are distorted by the thick atmosphere and somewhat tends to be misleading, the incoming rays get scrambled between the air molecules and produce unclear images.


James Webb is the next chapter after the Hubble in the astronomy world, the telescope is named after James E. Webb, NASA’s second administrator. It was initially scheduled to launch in the year 2012 but it is currently scheduled on 31st October 2021. There have been several launch delays prior to this launch date, it is in our best interest to hope that we get to see the telescope launch on 31st. It is NASA’s most ambitious and complex astronomical project yet.

Overprized for a Reason:-

Due to several delays NASA, many a time decided to pull out of the project but they chose to stay as they invested heavily to make this a reality, sure the project has been many folds overprized but it will be a stupid idea not to go ahead with the launch.
Part of the reason it is overpriced because it is not meeting the standards set by NASA as unlike Hubble which was visited by astronauts several times, James Webb couldn't be accessible at all because it is going beyond the LEO (Low Earth Orbit), the farthest any human has ever been.
Everything should work in the first go, and there is no margin for error. If a mistake were to happen, the project has to be discarded or the scientists have to make the best out of it.


1.The JWST is made up of a special type of metal called Beryllium. The outside coating is done by this metal. It mainly used for its high strength to weight ratio and is good at holding its shape across a range of temperatures which can be as low as -240°C. The property of the metal will allow the telescope to see deeper into the universe than ever before.
There are 18 Beryllium regular hexagonal panels to be precise.

Periodic Properties of the Beryllium metal and Mirror Itself
Range of Light
Time-lapse of the Sun Shield of the JWST


  1. Unlike the Hubble, it is not in Low Earth Orbit, it is at a distance of about 340k km to 1.5 million km in the opposite direction of the Sun to maintain a super low temperature.
  2. It is too large to fit in the cargo spacecraft, so it is folded like origami so that it can be housed in a 5-meter diameter fairing.
  3. JWST will revolve around the Sun and not the earth, unlike Hubble which revolves around the earth at an altitude of just 570 km. However, James Webb will move in sync with the earth to maintain strong communication. So visiting and repairing the telescope in the event of any failure is not possible. These communications are achieved by NASA’s deep space network which allows for the receiving of signals from every part of space. The antennas are located in every part of the globe which can make a strong communication with the object.
  4. Despite it being more advanced and good at doing its job, it is very light in weight, weighing only 6.2 tonnes compared to Hubble’s 11 tonnes.
  5. Unlike the Hubble, the JWST has multiple mirrors that are stacked together to form a giant primary mirror. Each individual mirrors are hexagonal in shape along with the overall structure. The Hubble had a perfectly round single primary mirror.




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