Weather delays NASA's James Webb Telescope launch until Christmas

If all goes according to plan, Christmas will bring an exciting gift for skywatchers the world over.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
Leslie Katz led a team that explored the intersection of tech and culture, plus all manner of awe-inspiring science, from space to AI and archaeology. When she's not smithing words, she's probably playing online word games, tending to her garden or referring to herself in the third person.
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Leslie Katz
2 min read

The James Webb Space Telescope during a test deployment of its primary mirro in March 2020.

Northrop Grumman

The much-anticipated launch of NASA's next-generation James Webb Telescope has been delayed yet again -- but only by 24 hours this time. The launch window is now set for Christmas morning starting at 4:20 a.m. PT instead of the same time the day before. 

Decades of work have gone into the launch of NASA's most powerful telescope ever, a successor to the aging Hubble Telescope, which has faced a series of technical challenges in recent months

The James Webb Telescope, also known as JWST or Webb, is a joint project from NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. It will launch folded into the tip of an Ariane 5 rocket provided by the ESA and will blast off from Arianespace's ELA-3 launch complex at European Spaceport located near Kourou, French Guiana. 

Armed with state-of-the-art machinery, the next-generation telescope will travel 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) from Earth to give us access to space's deepest, darkest, oldest secrets. 

As my CNET colleague Monisha Ravisetti explains in this in-depth piece on the telescope, the instrument is equipped to peer past the cosmic dark ages and document the first specks of light to flood the universe, see stars form behind dust clouds Hubble couldn't penetrate, zoom into supermassive black holes with unparalleled precision, detect galaxies invisible to the naked eye and begin cataloging planetary systems in search of habitable exoplanets.

Webb has seen numerous delays spanning years on its way to the latest launch date. 

Below you'll find the launch time around the world, and here's how to watch the big launch live.

  • US: 4:20 a.m. PT (7:20 a.m. ET)
  • Brazil: 9:20 a.m. (Federal District)
  • UK: 12:20 p.m.
  • South Africa: 2:20 p.m.
  • Russia: 3:20 p.m. (Moscow)
  • UAE: 4:20 p.m. 
  • India: 5:50 p.m.
  • China: 8:20 p.m.
  • Japan: 9:20 p.m.
  • Australia: 11:20 p.m. AEDT  
Watch this: James Webb Space Telescope: NASA's powerful space observatory, explained