Merry JWSTmas!

Well it’s 10.20am on Christmas Day and I’ve got up specially early in order to be ready for the launch at 12.20pm today (Irish Time) of the James Webb Space Telescope from Kourou in French Guiana. The JWST project has been almost thirty years in the making and it is great that it is finally going to be heading into space. The launch however is just the start – JWST has a very complicated journey in front of it – as demonstrated by the following little video.

In particular, JWST should separate from the Ariane 5 launcher at about 27 minutes after takeoff so look out for that.

I have no direct personal involvement with JWST but I am still feeling a bit nervous. I can’t imagine how it must feel to have spent decades working on it. I know a great many astronomers around the world who are waiting anxiously and hoping all goes well. Fingers crossed!

If you want to watch the launch live you can do so on Youtube here:

You can find alternative viewing options here.

The launch window opens at 12.20 UTC and lasts for 31 minutes but I understand they’re going to launch as early as possible within that so it looks like we’re in for a launch before lunch rather than the other way round.

I’ll update with any news as the day goes on.

UPDATE: 12.28pm Launched right on time, everything nominal as JWST leaves Earth’s atmosphere propelled by Stage One of the Ariane 5.

UPDATE: 12.31pm Stage One jettisoned, Stage 2 ignition. All still nominal.

UPDATE: 12.48pm JWST has separated from the launch vehicle and is on its way. The solar panel is deployed and is working. The spectacular onboard video showing the separation of JWST from the Ariane 5 launch vehicle and the deployment of the solar panels was supplied by Irish company Réaltra.

P.S. I still think JWST should have had a different name.

4 Responses to “Merry JWSTmas!”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    Here we go… this will make for Christmas cheer or gloom for some!

  2. On the subject of names, is “nominal” as in “according to plan” a fairly recent coining?

  3. […] A blog about the Universe, and all that surrounds it « Merry JWSTmas! […]

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