The James Webb Space Telescope, the next-generation space telescope from NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency, was launched late last year and will soon arrive at its final destination, the L2 Lagrange Point orbiting the sun. As it makes its final burn to enter orbit, NASA will broadcast a Science Live show about what is planned for the telescope followed by a news conference about its current status, and you can watch along with both at home.
How James Webb will reach its orbit
Following its launch on December 25, 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope had to travel nearly 1 million miles through space to reach its final orbit around the sun. It will be positioned in such a way that one half of the telescope which is protected by a sunshield will always be pointed toward the sun, and it will need only minimal power to keep it in its orbit.
To reach that orbit, however, Webb needs to perform an insertion maneuver, firing its thrusters to move it into the correct position. “Ground teams plan to fire Webb’s thrusters at 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24 to insert the space telescope into orbit around the Sun at the second Lagrange point, or L2, its intended destination, nearly 1 million miles from Earth,” NASA wrote.
“This mid-course correction burn has long been planned for approximately 29 days after launch. This week, the mission operations team selected the target date and time for the burn. Engineers also finished remotely moving Webb’s mirror segments out of their launch positions to begin the months-long process of aligning the telescope’s optics.”
How to watch the NASA show and briefing
To tell the public more about Webb’s latest milestone and the science that it will be performing, NASA will hold a Science Live broadcast and news conference. The Science Live show is entitled “What’s Next for the James Webb Space Telescope?” and viewers can submit questions to be answered by scientists and engineers from the Webb project. Afterward, a news conference with engineers and managers for Webb will discuss the insertion burn and other details about the telescope.
The Science Live show will be broadcast at 3 p.m. ET (12 p.m. PT) on Monday, January 24, followed by the news conference at 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT). You can watch along with either by using the video embedded near the top of this page or by heading to NASA’s website.
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