James Webb Space Telescope Day

When: October 16, 2021 10:00am to 9:00pm
 James Webb Space Telescope Day Illustration - Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium

Celebrate the upcoming launch of a new era in deep space observation

$5 Shows & Exhibits
Free Telescope Viewings & JWST Talk

Join us for special activities, demonstrations, educational artifacts and other opportunities that celebrate the impending launch of the largest and most powerful space telescope ever built, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Enjoy special displays and activities delving into infrared astronomy, a live presentation by a University of Arizona scientist in our planetarium theater, and planetarium shows exploring other worlds. 

SPECIAL PRICING: Admission to exhibits and activities inside Flandrau are only $5 per person for the day and admission to each planetarium show is also $5 (per person, per show). Free telescope-observing activities will take place on the UA Mall and a free JWST talk by Kevin Hainline inside the Eos Planetarium Theater starts at 5PM with seating on a first-come, first-served basis.

And don't miss International Observe the Moon Night, as well as a showing of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, directly following the day's activities.


  • Flandrau Exhibits, Planetarium Shows, and JWST activities | 10 a.m.-9 p.m.| $5
  • Solar Telescope Viewing on the Mall (subject to favorable weather) courtesy of the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association (TAAA) | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. | Free

JWST Talk from astronomer Kevin Hainline | 5-6 p.m.| Free

Special presentations of Tucson Sky & Beyond | 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m. | $5

Telescopes on the Mall (International Observe the Moon Night, subject to favorable weather) in partnership with TAAA | 7-9 p.m. | Free


  • NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch December 2021, will be the largest observatory ever sent into orbit, representing the next generation of giant space telescopes.
  • In order to peer deeper into space and time than any telescope has before, the JWST relies on cutting-edge optical science and engineering, some of which the University of Arizona has developed.
  • The mirror on James Webb Space Telescope will be made of beryllium, which is lightweight yet strong, and can withstand very cold temperatures. The JWST has to be kept at about -375 degrees Fahrenheit for its instruments to function properly.
  • The JWST's mirror is covered in a thin layer of gold, because gold improves the mirror’s reflection of infrared light. Because the gold is pure and soft, it will be shielded by a protective layer of glass.
  • The sunshield on James Webb Space Telescope is 70 feet by 48 feet, or roughly the size of a tennis court.
  • All in all, the JWST will weigh 14,000 pounds, which is about as much as a full-size school bus.

University of Arizona's Role

  • The instrument that will form the heart of NASA's JWST was assembled and tested by aerospace company Lockheed Martin under a contract from the University of Arizona.
  • The Near Infrared Camera instrument, dubbed NIRCam, was designed by Lockheed Martin and the University, incorporating innovative optical, mechanical, structural, thermal and electronic mechanisms. NIRCam's focal plane, which is similar to a digital camera’s imaging sensor, was developed by a team led by Marcia Rieke, a Regents' Professor of Astronomy in the Steward Observatory.
  • In addition to NIRCam, a mid-infrared-wavelength camera is also part of the telescope’s instrumentation. That instrument was developed by a group led by George Rieke, also a Regents’ Professor at the UA Steward Observatory.


Audience: All
Audience size: Large (101-500)
Price: $0-5


Link to map

Campus: Main Campus


1601 E University Blvd.
Tucson , AZ
United States
Arizona US

Contact info & links


Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium

Requests for disability-related accommodations should be directed to the event's primary contact: Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium