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James Webb Space Telescope launch: World's largest, most powerful observatory successfully lifts-off

The James Webb Space Telescope will not orbit the Earth like the Hubble Space Telescope; instead, it will orbit the Sun 1.5 million kilometres (1 million miles) distant at the second Lagrange point, or L2.

James Webb Space Telescope World largest most powerful space observatory successfully lifts off gcw
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Washington D.C., First Published Dec 25, 2021, 6:30 PM IST
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The world's most powerful space telescope has been succesfully launched into orbit on Saturday, bound for a destination 1.5 million kilometres (930,000 miles) away from Earth. According to an AFP correspondent on the site, the James Webb Space Telescope lifted off from the Kourou Space Centre in French Guiana at 12:20 p.m. GMT, contained in its Ariane 5 rocket. 

Its voyage to orbit lasted slightly under 30 minutes, and a signal indicating a successful landing was picked up by a base station in Malindi, Kenya. Webb, named after one of the architects of the Apollo Moon landings, is the Hubble Space Telescope's successor.

The telescope was created by an international collaboration between Nasa, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Astronomers, scientists, and researchers will use the telescope to solve fundamental issues such as, "Is Earth unique?" Exist there planetary systems like ours? Are we the only ones in the Universe?

The telescope will investigate the atmospheres of a wide range of exoplanets. It will also look for Earth-like atmospheres as well as the signs of important components like as methane, water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and complex organic compounds in the hopes of discovering the building blocks of life.

The James Webb Space Telescope will not orbit the Earth like the Hubble Space Telescope; instead, it will orbit the Sun 1.5 million kilometres (1 million miles) distant at the second Lagrange point, or L2.  After reaching its intended orbit almost 15,00,000 kilometres away from Earth, the first scientific observation by the James Webb Space Telescope will take around six months to arrive on Earth. The telescope will undergo a six-month commissioning procedure before it can begin surveying the universe.

Also Read | NASA's James Webb Space Telescope set to launch from French Guiana today

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