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How to track the newly launched James Webb Space Telescope

If you celebrate Christmas, your favorite part was likely the delicious dinner someone in your family made or the piles of presents underneath the tree. But you may not have realized NASA was making history on Christmas day.

Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has been the pinnacle of technology for viewing outer space. It wasn’t the first space telescope, but it was the largest and could capture things other telescopes could not. As technology has evolved over the years, so too has our desire to see even more of deep space.

The James Webb telescope launched on Christmas day and will observe a part of space that has never been seen before. The $10 billion telescope took nearly 30 years to construct and is NASA’s most powerful space telescope ever constructed. Want to track its progress as it heads toward its first destination? Keep reading.

Inside the James Webb Space Telescope

At 7:20 a.m. on Dec. 25, the James Webb Space Telescope launched into space from a port in South America. The launch went smoothly, with no unexpected complications. The telescope’s first mission will last six months, after which it will deliver the first batch of satellite images.

Its overall purpose is to help uncover information that will give us insight into the universe’s origins. With its ability to view further than any other telescope before it, NASA says the James Webb Space Telescope “will fundamentally alter our understanding of the universe.”

How to track the telescope

If you are a science nerd or are simply curious about James Webb’s whereabouts, you can track the telescope yourself in real-time. Track a variety of details about where the telescope is, including:

  • Time elapsed since launch
  • Distance from Earth
  • Distance to L2 orbit
  • Distance complete on initial mission
  • Cruising speed

You can also learn more about the current deployment mission and its purpose. It really is fascinating stuff.

Want to learn more about the Webb telescope and what it can do? The Goddard Space Flight Center has many resources, including media kits, fact sheets and other ways to follow the Webb telescope’s story. Head to the information section of The Goddard Space Flight Center here.

Did you miss the launch? No problem. Check out the footage below to watch this historic moment.

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