NASA’s Next Big Space Telescope to Launch in December :) #astronomy #NASA #JamesWebb

Webb will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System… extending the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope with longer wavelength coverage and greatly improved sensitivity. NASA

Innovative and international, the James Webb folds up like origami inside its payload for its rocket-ride into space, then deploys gold-coated beryllium mirrors. It will orbit the Sun, not the Earth! Farther away than our own Moon (which does, of course, orbit the Earth,) Webb will occupy a Lagrange Point.

The L2 is one of several points in space where the gravitational interplay of the Sun and Earth precisely equal the centrifugal force of a much smaller third body, such as the Webb telescope. It’s a delicate balance, and the telescope won’t sit exactly at the L2 point, but orbit around it as that point orbits the Sun. Kinda wild looking orbit, but a great place for a telescope looking outward to the stars.

You can have your own Webb telescope! At least, you can craft your own paper model. From NASA and telescope enthusiasts from 4th Graders up, download the PDF files, print on heavy or standard paper as described, and assemble.

Click here for the PDF files – free from NASA – and view models created and modified by other astronomy enthusiasts.

Have fun as you wait for the James Webb launch. 🙂

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