Watch this beautiful footage of the James Webb Space Telescope as it floats away into deep space, never to be seen by human eyes again

Jan 6th

This isn't the sort of thing you see every day—and in this case it's also the sort of thing you'll never actually see again:

When the James Webb Space Telescope's mission first began on Dec. 25, it was already time for people on Earth to say goodbye to the observatory.

A new video from the European Space Agency shows the $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope deploying from the Ariane 5 rocket that carried it into space, all in glorious ultra-HD resolution. In just three minutes, you'll see Webb slowly floating away from its rocket stage and unfurling its solar panels...

You may be familiar with James Webb's famous cousin, the Hubble Space Telescope; that scope still floats in low-earth orbit and has been serviced multiple times by several missions. The Webb telescope, however, will be far more hands-off:

Unlike the Hubble Space Telescope, Webb is not designed to be serviced by astronauts in space. The telescope will rely on infrared observations, which requires it to be far away from Earth (some 930,000 miles, or 1.5 million kilometers) to minimize stray light from interfering with its work.

Here's the mesmerizing footage, complete with a little Johann Strauss to work up your feels:

Go forth, James Webb, and send back some sweet deep space pics!


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