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Space exploration - The shaded (anti-Sun) side of James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) observing in orbit; sunshield; halo orbit; Lagrange point 2; auxiliary booster; spacecraft; spaceship; aerospace; astrodynamics; infrared astronomy - Space Art Illustration

James Webb Space Telescope multiple-mirror optics

The shaded side of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) as it may appear later this decade when it is observing from the Earth–Sun L2 point about 930 thousand miles from the Earth. Part of the Milky Way can be seen reflected in the 21-foot diameter mirror assembly. This assembly is composed of 18 hexagonal segments of gold-coated beryllium which combine to create a near-infrared light-collecting area of about 80 square feet (the Hubble Space Telescope has a collecting area of 48 square feet).

The JWST's sensitive optical elements are shaded from the perpetual sunlight via a "parasol" consisting of multiple spaced layers of polyimide film. These layers act as a passive cooling barrier between the 185F sunward side and the -388F shaded side hosting the optics and sensors.


Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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