Nasa has successfully launched its James Webb Space Telescope.
The telescope will allow scientists to see further back into the history of the universe than ever before.
It was launched on a European Ariane 5 rocket from the Kourou, French Guiana site in South America today (25 December).
Although the first step was a success, there’s still a few more stages to go before the telescope is operational - one of which is an unfurling procedure that will take up to two weeks to complete.
It involves the opening of a whopping 344 parts that will be unfolded remotely in a procedure never tried before.
3...2...1… The boosters have ignited, and we have liftoff at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana! #NASAWebb is now on its way to its new home a million miles from Earth, where it will #UnfoldTheUniverse in ways we’ve never seen before. 🚀 💫 https://t.co/td5j9eUSnH— NASA Webb Telescope (@NASAWebb) December 25, 2021
As the rocket shot off, Nasa tweeted: "The main engines of Webb’s @Ariane5 rocket have cut off, and the main stage has now separated.
"The upper stage has ignited and will burn for about 16 minutes. At cutoff, Webb will be moving 25,000 miles per hour (relative to Earth)!
The boosters have ignited, and we have liftoff at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana! #NASAWebb is now on its way to its new home a million miles from Earth, where it will #UnfoldTheUniverse in ways we’ve never seen before."
The telescope, which cost a whopping $10billion to create, will work alongside the Hubble Space Telescope.
This new space telescope is hell of a lot bigger than the Hubble - it features a 6.5 metre mirror, more than double the size of Hubble’s 2.4m one. The upsized mirror will mean it's between 10 and 100 times more sensitive than the Hubble.
The James Webb Space Telescope, will attempt to look back 13.7 billion years back in time, 100 million years after the Big Bang and will give researchers a chance to look at how the universe was formed. Clever, eh?
The telescope, which will be managed by Baltimore’s The Space Telescope Science Institute, will give around five to ten years of observations.
Speaking ahead of the launch, The Space Telescope Science Institute’s Ori Fox said: “Personally, I think that even with all of the hype, the Webb will still exceed expectations.
“Many of what are considered Hubble’s most inspiring discoveries were not part of the original plan.”
Featured Image Credit: Nasa