The James Webb Space Telescope imaged on its way to the stars – 29 Dec. 2021

The recently launched James Webb Space Telescope will help scientists understanding many key points about the Universe. Four days after its launch, we imaged it on the way to its final destination.

The James Webb Space Telescope, imaged from Earth. - 29 Dec. 2021.

The James Webb Space Telescope, imaged from Earth. – 29 Dec. 2021.

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The image above comes from a single 120-second exposure, unfiltered, remotely collected with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at the Virtual Telescope Project. Our robotic telescope tracked the apparent motion of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is marked by an arrow in the center. We estimated a magnitude of 14.7 (unfiltered, R mags for the reference stars from the GAIA DR2 star catalogue).

At the imaging time, JWST was at about 550.000 km from us (almost 1.5 times the average lunar distance); its final destination is the L2 (2nd) Lagrangian point of the Earth-Sun system at 1.5 millions of km from us. As seen from the Sun, that L2 point is directly behind the Earth. While we were imaging JWST, Nasa was extending its Deployable Tower Assembly: the gap created in this way will provide room for the sunshield membranes to fully unfold.

We also captured a short movie, showing the JWST moving across the stars.

The James Webb Space Telescope in motion against the stars.

The James Webb Space Telescope in motion against the stars.

If you want to learn more about this amazing instrument, just check the detailed Nasa’s website.

 See the James Webb Space Telescope live, online!

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