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James Webb vs. Hubble: Compare their images side by side

The first color images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) have been released – and they are absolutely breathtaking.

That’s because the telescope has yielded the deepest and sharpest infrared images of the early Universe to date.

Webb is the largest and most powerful telescope ever launched into space – a promising successor to the famous Hubble telescope.

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These are the three main differences between the two telescopes, according to NASA:

  • Webb mainly looks at the universe in the infrared, while Hubble mainly studies it at optical and ultraviolet wavelengths. This makes a big difference, as infrared images can peer through cosmic dust and reveal hidden objects or formations.
  • Webb also has a much larger mirror than Hubble. This larger light-gathering area means it can peer further back in time than Hubble can.
  • While Hubble orbits the Earth at an altitude of 570 km, Webb is much further away. It’s on the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point1.5 million kilometers away!

Even with our humble, earthbound eyes, we can still perceive the difference in image quality and detail that the telescopes produce.


SMACS 0723

SMACS 0723 is a cluster of galaxies in the southern constellation Volans. It is about 5.12 billion light-years away.

James Webb vs Hubble