Top of page

Canada's contribution to the James Webb Space Telescope


Uploaded on February 9, 2021

14 850 views

Canada's contribution to the James Webb Space Telescope

2021-02-09 - The James Webb Space Telescope promises to revolutionize our understanding of the universe, with the help of a Canadian-made instrument and fine guidance sensor.

Webb is an international collaboration between NASA, ESA, and the Canadian Space Agency. (Credits: Canadian Space Agency, ESA, NASA, Northrop Grumman)


Narrator: The James Webb Space Telescope is the most powerful space observatory ever built.

Gathering infrared light invisible to the human eye, its penetrating gaze will behold the earliest moments in cosmic time and search distant worlds for evidence of life.

The Canadian Space Agency is collaborating with NASA and the European Space Agency on the James Webb Telescope. Canada has contributed two key elements: the NIRISS instrument and the Fine Guidance Sensor.

NIRISS will keep watch as faraway planets pass in front of their host stars, and will gather the spectrum of light filtering through the atmospheres of rocky super-Earths, mysterious ocean worlds, and gigantic hot-Jupiters, to create a chemical fingerprint that could be a match with the vital clues of life.

Water, carbon dioxide, and oxygen may lurk within the atmospheres of these enigmatic exoplanets.

NIRISS will also take a closer look at the distant universe, peering back in time to see youthful galaxies just cosmic minutes after they form.

To perform these unprecedented observations, sometimes from billions of light-years away, the telescope’s gaze must stay perfectly still.

Webb’s Fine Guidance Sensor will latch onto key reference points in deep space during all of the telescope’s observations.

Its remarkable precision will help the telescope capture sharp images of swirling, merging galaxies, newborn stars, and bubbling nebulas that have never been seen before. The James Webb Space Telescope will pierce through layers of cosmic dust to unveil the unique mysteries of the universe and fuel groundbreaking astronomical research for decades to come.


For the ownership and usage of the videos, please see the Terms section.

Date modified: