The much-hyped James Webb Space Telescope has just completed testing in California ahead of its planned launch later this year, and—assuming all goes to plan—it will totally change the way we see the universe.
The telescope's predecessor, the magnificent Hubble, captured mostly visible light. But the JWST is different: Its focus is on the infrared, allowing it to see past dust clouds and into the deepest and most ancient corners of the universe.
It's set to launch in French Guinea later this year, destined for Lagrange 2. This special point in space one of several where the Earth and Sun's gravitational fields allow it to stay put without expending fuel.
JWST will also give us a closer look at exoplanets, with spectroscopy set to give us insight into their atmospheres—potentially revealing biosignatures like oxygen and water.
Sources and further reading:
Top 100 Images of Hubble at Hubble/ESA
What is a Lagrange Point? at NASA
Featured image credit: Adriana Manrique Gutierrez, NASA Animator