The James Webb Space Telescope


Brooks Hohorst, Staff Writer

Did you ever think it might be possible to obtain an actual video of the beginning of the universe? If so, then you might be right.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was launched December 25, 2021, and is the most powerful telescope ever built. Scientists spent two decades designing and building it, and it cost $10 billion to build! 

     In 1989, before the HUBBLE telescope was even launched, discussions had begun for creating the next great telescope. For fifteen years, NASA explored options, and in 2004, construction began on the James Webb Space Telescope. Currently, it is at its final home, almost 1 million miles away from Earth in space. Being so far away allows it to use less fuel since it avoids Earth’s gravitational pull, and create clearer images than if it was in Earth’s pull. However, there is also a problem with it being so far away. Scientists will never be able to reach it to make repairs, or refuel it.

In July 2022, NASA finally received photos from the JWST. The photos were “The deepest image of the cosmos ever captured,” according to 


The Scientific American. “Those are just the first images,” said Gregory Robinson, Webb Program Director. “Think about the many years of images and other things we’re going to learn with this telescope about potentially habitable planets.” That’s incredibly exciting! NASA is looking for planets that human beings could possibly live on one day. 

What else is the JWST doing out there in space? It is observing stars so far away that their pictures might actually reveal how the universe was formed. How is that even possible? Well, the telescope can see back in time because when the universe started, light flew all over the universe. This light has been traveling since the beginning of the universe, but it’s still hundreds of millions of miles away from what scientists on Earth can observe. However, by using a telescope as strong as JWST, it is finally possible to see far away enough to observe the stars from the very beginning of time, about 13.8 billion years ago! The Hubble telescope, NASA’s most powerful telescope before JWST, was only able to see about 13.5 billion years ago from a time when there were already galaxies. Prior to galaxy formation, there is a period scientists had called the Dark Ages, when they didn’t know how galaxies formed. The James Webb Space Telescope was specially designed to see into that era since it can see infrared light, while the Hubbel telescope was only able to see light that is visible to the human eye. This means that it will allow scientists to see objects and stars that have never been seen before. The JWST’s first images are here and its most current images are here.

So go check out what the stars looked like thousands of years ago, and continue to pay some extra attention to the JWST’s journey through time because you just might see something amazing.