The James Webb Space Telescope mission officially started on December 25. Now, though, the telescope is finally saying goodbye to the Ariane 5 rocket that took it to space. In a new video of the Webb Space Telescope shared by the European Space Agency, we get a final look at the telescope as it heads off to officially kickstart its years-long mission.
Today's Top Deals
Watch the last James Webb Space Telescope video
— ESA Webb Telescope (@ESA_Webb) December 30, 2021
What makes this video of the James Webb Space Telescope so special is this is the last time that we’ll see the spacecraft. Unlike the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb won’t be close enough to Earth for astronauts to service it. Instead, it will orbit around roughly 1.5 million kilometers from our planet (roughly 930,000 miles).
The scientists behind the telescope decided to do this because of how much it relies on infrared observations. Since it will be so far from Earth, it will have less stray light interfering with the observations that it makes.
In the new video, we see the James Webb Space Telescope as it breaks off from the Ariane 5. The telescope then continues drifting away and turning, to prepare for its month-long journey out to its orbit point. In the video, we can also see the edge of the planet, which looks absolutely stunning alongside the black of space. The latest James Webb Space Telescope video was captured on December 25, shortly after it launched into space.
More stages of deployment await
While the telescope might have deployed from the Ariane 5, there are still a few more stages of deployment to complete. NASA has an approximate deployment schedule set up for this, though it’s flexible. This wiggle room will allow engineers to make pauses or adjustments as needed to work out any unexpected issues.
Unfortunately, we won’t see any more videos of the James Webb Space Telescope. But, we do have a lot of images to look forward to. Much like the Hubble Space Telescope, it will take a few months to get everything set up and running completely. Once it is established and ready to go, the James Webb Space Telescope will share its observations back to Earth. The two space associations haven’t revealed what the telescope will target first. However, with any luck, we’ll be able to learn more about our galaxy and the universe around us.