James Webb Space Telescope Launch Party

On December 25, 2021, the anticipated launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) took place at Arianespace's ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana onboard an Ariane 5 rocket!

Team members at NASA’s Katherine Johnson Independent Verification & Validation (IV&V) Program in Fairmont, WV, looked to the skies that morning and celebrated the JWST team’s ingenuity, dedication, and persistence. Webb embarks on its journey of probing for the “first light” after the Big Bang and finding the first galaxies that formed in the early Universe, connecting the Big Bang to our own Milky Way Galaxy and peering through dusty clouds to see stars forming planetary systems, connecting the Milky Way to our own Solar System while seeking chemical signatures of extraterrestrial life.

12/15/2021 9:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m. EST, IV&V’s Richard Finley invite you to join them for a virtual JWST Q&A session. **Submit your questions to IV&V for the Q&A Session.** prior to joining the call.

Join in NASA's the #UnfoldTheUniverse Art Challenge

Submissions Due Dec. 18th

Anyone can submit their art about the James Webb Space Telescope, as a picture or 1-minute video, using the #UnfoldTheUniverse hashtag on social media.


Get some fast facts about the JWST launch here, along with videos of prior Ariane 5 launches.

Register to watch online the JWST Launch - LIVE!

JWST Toilet Paper Tube Engineering

The JWST has to fold to fit into the Ariane 5 rocket that will launch it into space. Once deployed, it will have to unfold itself before it begins its mission. Your challenge is to build something that fits into a tube and then expands, unfurls, or pops open when removed! Check out the video introducing the challenge, then share your creation on our Flipgrid page!

Intro Video •• Flipgrid

Copy of Hubble_Webb

Click here to download the JWST paper model!

The video below is a short 1-minute overview of the JWST, excerpted from our longer 2021 Day in the Park video on Telescopes.

From our 2020 Day in the Park, Rich Finley talks about the computer science behind the James Webb Space Telescope, and IV&V's role in the mission.

Elementary Activities

Cut hexagons out of a template and assemble into the same shape as the JWST's primary mirror.

Make a bracelet to learn about the solar system, read about the life cycle of stars, and learn more about infrared imaging!

This educator guide is about how space telescopes operate. Check out the "Paint by Numbers" activity on p. 84/

Middle School Activities

Use an analogy of water misted on a window to help students understand how Earth's atmosphere interferes with ground-based telescopes, then build models of Webb and Hubble's primary mirrors.

Teams of students will design a device to keep warm water warm and cold water cold. JWST's sun shield is essential to its mission, blocking out IR waves from the Sun.

Videos, articles, and activities about the James Webb Space Telescope from Scholastic magazine. They include information on exoplanets and profiles of the scientists behind Webb.

High School Activities

This NASA educator guide includes dozens of experiments, authentic math problems, and information on EM spectrum, spectroscopy, and how to interpret images from space-based telescopes like JWST. Check out smartphone thermal imaging in far-red band on page 61.

This demo of the inverse square law engages students with simple materials: markers, rulers, and balloons. While this particular activity references the Juno spacecraft, the same principles apply to the JWST.

Using actual images of galaxies, nebulae, and other space objects, experiment with processing these images to gain a better understanding of how scientists combine visible, IR, and UV spectra into stunning views of space!