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Mirror, Mirror

When last I updated, the James Webb Space Telescope’s primary mirror was under construction here at NASA Goddard. I believe we were on mirror segment number five. I’m very pleased to say that the primary mirror assembly was officially completed on February 3, 2016! Here are a few more photos … Continue Reading →

Test Masses

Release the beasts!

  • By Ira Thorpe
  • February 29, 2016
  • Comments Off on Release the beasts!

Captain A. G. Lamplugh, a British pilot from the early days of aviation once famously said “Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect.” Space flight is less forgiving still. A single … Continue Reading →

The heart of the ASTRO-H Soft X-ray Spectrometer is the microcalorimeter array at center. The five-millimeter square forms a 36-pixel array. Each pixel is 0.824 millimeter on a side, or about the width of the ball in a ballpoint pen. The detector's field of view is approximately three arcminutes, or one-tenth the apparent diameter of the full moon.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Five Questions about ASTRO-H/Hitomi (and launch videos!)

  • By Maggie Masetti
  • February 22, 2016
  • Comments Off on Five Questions about ASTRO-H/Hitomi (and launch videos!)

We were able to get our hands on these “5 questions your neighbor might ask” about the ASTRO-H mission (recently renamed Hitomi), and in particular NASA Goddard’s contributions. Here are the answers, courtesy of Dr. Rich Kelly, the Principal Investigator of the Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS). [Fun fact – he … Continue Reading →

ASTRO-H Launches

A New Eye in Space

It’s with greatest pleasure that we say congratulations to the whole ASTRO-H team for a successful launch. Or should we say, the Hitomi team. ASTRO-H has been newly re-christened, as is the Japanese tradition upon a successful launch. The name Hitomi has a significance, and that is this. According to … Continue Reading →

ASTRO-H Artist Impression

Almost time…

Update, Feb 16: We have an official updated launch date! It’ll be 3:45 AM EST February 17th (that is Tuesday into early Wednesday morning). The time is almost here to see the ASTRO-H spacecraft launch, and to learn what its true name will be. The Japanese space agency has a … Continue Reading →


Flying to a Tropical Island

  • By Kevin Boyce
  • January 29, 2016
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Two weeks left until Astro-H launches. The spacecraft propellant tanks have been filled, all “non-flight” items (such as protective covers) have been removed, and the spacecraft has been installed in the fairing (the pointy end of the rocket). The team from Goddard is on our way back to the launch … Continue Reading →

John Mather

A Conversation with John Mather

You might recall our recent interns from Germany, Daniela and Verena, who guest blogged for us a few times. They did some interviews with people working on the James Webb Space Telescope while they were here and we thought we would share this one with Nobel Laureate and James Webb … Continue Reading →


The Road to Tanegashima

Getting ready to launch Astro-H from Japan Continue Reading →

Mirror Scoreboard

Assembling a Space Mirror

I have been remiss in not blogging about this sooner – but it’s been incredibly busy around here at “JWST Central.” That is to say, we’ve been hard at work, here at NASA Goddard putting together the actual James Webb Space Telescope. Back in August, we had the giant telescope … Continue Reading →

Planet-forming disk - artist's conception

Try It At Home: Help Discover New Planets!

  • By Sara Mitchell
  • December 7, 2015
  • Comments Off on Try It At Home: Help Discover New Planets!

When I heard the news that astronomers have made unprecedented observations of a still-forming planet around a star named LkCa 15, I was really excited. Just 25 years ago, we hadn’t found any exoplanets and weren’t sure if, when, or how we’d find something so small, faint, and distant. In … Continue Reading →

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