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Canada's contribution to the James Webb Space Telescope


Uploaded on December 23, 2021


Canada's contribution to the James Webb Space Telescope

2021-12-23 – The James Webb Space Telescope is an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

The CSA has contributed two important elements:

  • the Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS), which will allow the telescope to point at and focus on objects of interest
  • the Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS), a scientific instrument that will help study exoplanets and distant galaxies

In exchange, Canada will receive a guaranteed share of Webb's observation time. (Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA, Honeywell Canada)


Sarah Gallagher: We asked you what you wanted to know about the science of Webb.

David Saint-Jacques: And we're here to answer your questions.

Hi, I'm David Saint-Jacques.

Sarah Gallagher: And I'm Sarah Gallagher.

David Saint-Jacques / Sarah Gallagher: And you are an astrophysicist!

Sarah Gallagher: How is Canada contributing to the James Webb Space Telescope?

David Saint-Jacques: Canada provided Webb's Fine Guidance Sensor, which is an important piece of hardware used for all observations.

It allows Webb to point to and focus on objects with high precision. It also helps Webb determine and maintain its position in space.

Canada also contributed the Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph, or NIRISS, one of Webb's four science instruments.

NIRISS enables scientists to find faraway planets outside our solar system, and determine the composition of their atmosphere. It will also be used to observe distant galaxies.

More questions will arise as Webb opens a new chapter in our understanding of the universe.

Sarah Gallagher: Join astronomers from across Canada and around the world on a thrilling journey of discovery.


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