James Webb’s John Hancock | WJCT News

James Webb’s John Hancock | WJCT News

Get ready for incredible astrophotography from the James Webb Space Telescope! Look for its unique signature – diffraction spikes in the shape of James Webb’s John Hancock. With six strong spikes and two horizontal ones, you’ll recognize Webb’s distinct telescope everywhere. Get ready to gawk at celestial wonders!


The James Webb Space Telescope will be the source of incredible astrophotography for decades to come. Gawk, but mind your drool, please.

But how can we tell Webb’s images from other amazing telescopes? Afterall, incredible observatories around the world have snapped some beauties.

Well, Webb has a signature that you could look for.

You might say, James Webb… has a John Hancock.

So what is this signature?

Well – ever seen an image of space and notice that the stars have thin spikes coming off em? Often they look like plus signs. These are called diffraction spikes.

And they’re complete artifacts of the telescope.

See, when light from a point source enters a telescope, the edges of the mirrors diffract light, so different shaped mirrors make different diffraction spikes.

And, the arms that help hold the telescope together also diffract the light.

Based on Webb’s unique design, it has six strong spikes and two lesser, horizontal ones. It’s Webb’s very own. Once you notice it, you’ll recognize its handwriting everywhere.

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