The bigger the telescope, the better its vision. @NASAWebb is the largest telescope NASA has ever sent into space. Webb is designed to be as light as possible, but still measure large enough to achieve its scientific goals: Credit: NASA. #AAS238 (1/10) Image
Webb’s key components include an enormous primary mirror to collect infrared light, a supersized sunshield to keep the telescope cold, and four scientific instruments to conduct its ambitious science operations. Credit: NASA. #AAS238 (2/10) Image
Webb’s primary mirror towers more than two stories high. For the telescope to fit in the launch vehicle, an Ariane 5 rocket, it must fold origami-style to about a quarter of its full size, then unfold on its way to its orbit location. #AAS238 (3/10)
The purpose of Webb’s 6.6-meter primary mirror is to collect infrared light traveling through space. The larger a mirror, the more light it can collect over a given period of time. A larger mirror can therefore detect dimmer or more distant objects. Credit: STScI. #AAS238 (4/10) Image
Webb’s primary and secondary mirrors are composed of strong, light and durable beryllium metal with a thin coating of gold to reflect infrared light. The total amount of gold on the mirrors is only about 50 grams, which would fit into a sphere the size of a marble. #AAS238 (5/10)
The tennis-court-sized sunshield is potentially the Webb telescope’s most distinctive feature. The sunshield will provide a cold and thermally stable environment for the telescope and its instruments. Credit: NASA. #AAS238 (6/10) Image
For the sunshield to work, Webb must be in an orbit where the Sun, Earth, and Moon remain in the same direction, away from the telescope on the far side of the sunshield. That orbit is known as the semi-stable Lagrange point L2. #AAS238 (7/10)
Webb's sunshield plays a vital role in protecting the telescope from unwanted infrared radiation. The separated five-layer design insulates the telescope, keeping light from overheating the mirror and scientific instruments. Credit: STScI. #AAS238 (8/10) Image
The sunshield consists of five layers of a heat-resistant, strong material called Kapton, which is coated in aluminum and silicon. Not long after launch, Webb’s sunshield will slowly unfurl, stretched taut by cables attached to motors. #AAS238 (9/10)
The Space Telescope Science Institute (@stsci) offers a variety of experts working directly with the telescope and the mission who are prepared to communicate in an understandable, public-friendly manner. Connect with our news team: #AAS238 (10/10)

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More from @SpaceTelescope

9 Jun
Science discoveries made by @NASAWebb are expected to revolutionize our understanding of the cosmos and our origins within the universe! Dive into what Webb could reveal about the cosmos: Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser. #AAS238 (1/9)
Mission goals for Webb include: Search for the first galaxies that formed in early universe; study the evolution of galaxies; observe star formation; and measure physical and chemical properties and investigate the potential for life in planetary systems. #AAS238 (2/9)
Webb is equipped with specialized instruments that detect infrared wavelengths, the light just beyond the visible spectrum. Infrared radiation can penetrate dense molecular clouds, whose dust blocks most of the light detectable by Hubble. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech #AAS238 (3/9)
Read 9 tweets
9 Jun
Research telescopes include scientific instruments that record light precisely. The extreme sensitivity and precision of @NASAWebb’s four instruments support its unprecedented scientific power: Credit: NASA. #AAS238 (1/7)
Each of Webb’s four instruments is like a Swiss army knife of specialized components, with multiple ways of observing. All four can be used for investigations of the wide variety of objects that make up the universe, including planets, stars, nebulae, and galaxies. #AAS238 (2/7)
Webb’s instruments are housed in the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM), which is situated behind the primary mirror on the cold side of the telescope where it is protected by the sunshield. Credit: NASA and STScI. #AAS238 (3/7)
Read 7 tweets

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