NASA's James Webb Space Telescope launches into space

Scientists hope the observatory will change our understanding of space.

Published: December 25, 2021 8:09am

Updated: December 25, 2021 10:07am

NASA on Christmas morning launched its next-generation space observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope.

The telescope departed into space atop an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe's Spaceport, the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, in French Guiana at 7:20 a.m. ET.

"The beginning of a new, exciting decade of science climbed to the sky," NASA tweeted. "Webb's mission to #UnfoldTheUniverse will change our understanding of space as we know it."

The launch follows years of delay for the Webb telescope, in part because of technical difficulties and the pandemic, according to CNN

However, the space observatory, considered the most powerful and complex in history, is expected to answer questions about our solar system and exoplanets.

The telescope comes equipped with a mirror that can extend over 21 feet, a length that will allow the mirror to collect more light from the objects it observes, thus providing a more detailed look at the objects, CNN also reports.

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