NASA’s James Webb telescope to complete final unfolding this weekend

Jan 7, 2022

By: Marcia Sekhose

Final unfolding

NASA’s James Webb telescope will complete its final deployment which is unfolding the second of its two primary wings.

Credit: NASA

Launch time

The final deployment of the Webb’s primary mirror will take place on January 8, 2022 with its live coverage starting at 9.00 am ET which is 7.30 pm IST for viewers in India.

Credit: NASA

Largest primary mirror ever

The James Webb’s primary mirror is 21-feet wide in diameter making it the largest primary mirror ever on any space telescope.

Credit: NASA

Role of the primary mirror

The primary mirror is composed of 18 hexagonal segments, and it is designed to collect infrared light to help Webb see the most distant galaxies.

Credit: NASA

Secondary mirror

On January 6, 2022, the James Webb telescope’s 74cm-wide secondary mirror was unfolded. The secondary mirror’s job is to reflect what the primary mirror sees into the observatory.

Credit: NASA

Final task

Once the primary mirror is unfolded, the Webb will have completed all its unfolding in space and prepare for its operations.

Credit: NASA


Prior to this, NASA completed the crucial task of unfolding the Webb’s tennis court-sized sunshield that will protect the telescope from heat and light.

Credit: NASA

Final destination

The Webb will orbit the sun with its final destination being the second Lagrange point or L2 which is 1 million miles away from Earth.

Credit: NASA

James Webb mission

The telescope’s mission is to observe very faint infrared signals of very distant objects and help scientists learn more about the origin of our universe.

Credit: NASA

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