(The primary mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope after being assembled at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. Photo credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)
An amazing space telescope, that is rewriting astronomy books, has a big anniversary coming up!
July 12, 2023 will be the 1-year anniversary of the first images release from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). There are many ways for libraries to participate, and there will be another special image release on July 12 to commemorate the anniversary. To find out information about hosting your own event in partnership with the Space Telescope Science Institute (STSI) you can check out https://outerspace.stsci.edu/display/WSTCE
The JWST is allowing astronomers to see farther in the universe than any telescope to date. The mission has been an amazing success so far. The original estimates of a hoped for twelve-year mission, has now been estimated to have enough fuel reserves for a twenty-year observation mission before running out of fuel. This new revised estimate is due to how well Webb’s rocket delivered it to its halo orbit, 1 million miles from the Earth.
For a great JWST website and resource page (that you will want to bookmark) with links to all the NASA social media feeds for the JWST, so you can stay up to date on the latest images and information on your preferred social media channel. https://webb.nasa.gov
I have held a few JWST presentations for adults over the last year and a half, and you may never need this, but providing you with a link for a deeper dive on some of the instruments on JWST and related articles. Some adult patrons had questions about the micrometeorite impacts that they had heard about on media reports hitting the JWST. The following was an invaluable resource to presenting the best information available on the topic. https://jwst-docs.stsci.edu/jwst-observatory-characteristics/jwst-micrometeoroid-avoidance-zone
Bringing the topic back to kids of different ages that might be attending family programs you may schedule this Summer. A color card stock model template for the JWST that can be assembled with glue sticks. For younger participants, you may want to pre-cut the JWST secondary mirror tripod. https://jwst.nasa.gov/model/jwstPaperModelBasic.pdf
For those libraries that have access to a 3D Printer, the following files will allow you to print your own model of the JWST for display or to help with describing the major components of the telescope and could provide a reference for kids making the card stock model of the telescope. https://webbtelescope.org/contents/media/products/01G2Z87WABCENV9MQ0GSE8RGHM
An interactive JWST experience, as part of the Eyes on the Solar System, allows you to see Webb’s current position in space, or you can replay it’s original month-long journey from the Earth to its current location. https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/missions/james-webb-space-telescope/in-depth/
And finally, a resource page featuring several PDF coloring sheets of different JWST scenes is available, and on the same page, you can upload and submit completed artwork to share with NASA, and for others to see. You many even find some inspiration from the collection of uploaded images available for viewing, and no matter what, there will be lots of amazing new images coming from the JWST all Summer long.