First Look at JWST

I’ve posted photos here and there over the last 9 months or so of the truly amazing experience and privilege of getting to witness JWST being built. Seeing those gold-coated mirrors for the first time was truly amazing. Getting to see them upright and in front of me, and see myself reflected… in the same mirrors that are going to see the first stars and galaxies? Truly amazing.

Here are a selection of pictures from the spring. There are selfies because what better thing to be in a selfie with?!



When the telescope faces the ceiling like this, it casts golden reflections of itself. I love this effect.

Here the secondary mirror boom is folded back (this is the position of the boom and secondary mirror during launch):

The reflection reflects this as well!


Here I got the telescope and reflections into a long pano:

Then came this very special day!

Here’s the telescope being tilted upwards:




This was the first time it was upright. We didn’t know when it would be happening. I had a dentist appointment in the morning and I heard it might happen then and I thought I would miss it. But it hadn’t happened by the time I got to work. Laura and I hung out there all day, skipping eating anything because we didn’t want to miss it. Worth it!

Here the telescope is tilted and is casting gold light on Laura.




My friend Nasreen taking video and photos of us!



Amber, me, and Laura:

Some of our team with John Mather:


Not a selfie!

My officemate took this one of Laura, John, and Becky plotting to see if we could get some special shots when they rotated the telescope. They had to close the curtain when the telescope faced back because there is some proprietary tech on the back. But we talked them into not closing the curtain until the telescope had rotated to the point where the back was visible. We decided we’d have John take a selfie of himself reflected in the mirror. Everyone else stepped back as it turned and he was out friend. As it turned out, it reflected all of us! We got a series of selfies on the mirror, and it was kind of a magic moment.



So much of Goddard turned out and it was so special because it was such a necessarily ad hoc experience that we had no way to plan it into a photo op for VIPs – it truly was about the people who work at Goddard. Look at everyone!


And then the telescope started to turn. Magic!

There I am at left, right next to the curtain.


And at lower left:

Lower right:




I made this montage of all the selfies as the telescope panned across us all:
May 4th - Goddard Takes a Selfie in JWST

Nasreen took this video of us, which I love. You can see me crouching down for most of it, trying not to block other people, while getting photos:

A friend of mine, Padi, got this cool shot:
JWST Faces Front

And the view of this all from the webcam in the cleanroom:
Webcam View of JWST Going Vertical

Once the telescope was facing back, some of the team inside the cleanroom got this wonderful group shot by our awesome photographer Chris. Reflected in the telescope is the NASA logo:
Group Photo with JWST

Also, this moment was caught by the webcam, too, which I love:
Webcam View of JWST Going Vertical

A special day to be sure – and fortunately, not our last special day with this beautiful telescope!