NASA's James Webb Tracker Shows You Where the Telescope Is Right Now

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has now covered 65 percent of its journey through space before it arrives at its desired orbit around the sun—and members of the public can track its progress using an online NASA tool.

The website of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center hosts the Where is Webb? data page, which displays a host of information about the JWST's whereabouts and condition.

For example, as of 5:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday the groundbreaking new telescope was shooting through space at 0.3 miles per second, or over 1,000 miles per hour with more than 300,000 miles to go.

At that time it was 590,000 miles away from our planet—around 2.5 times farther away from us than the moon is.

Meanwhile the JWST's sunshield was experiencing temperatures of 128 degrees Fahrenheit as it was facing the glare of the sun. The telescope's instrument radiator, on the other hand, was decided more chilly at -323 degrees Fahrenheit.

The tracker will continue to display the JWST's progress through space until it reaches its destination known as L2—a point in space which allows the telescope to stay in one place relative to Earth as it moves around the sun.

Once it gets there, the Where is Webb? tool will no longer track the telescope's distance, but will continue to track temperatures.

The telescope will then undergo months of testing and calibrations ahead of its first operations and images. It will also slowly cool down to operating temperatures.

For now, the JWST is continuing to deploy itself as it sails through the vacuum of space. Since its launch the telescope has slowly unfurled its sunshield, and its next step is to deploy its secondary mirror.

This step is set to begin on Wednesday. It will first involve moving the secondary mirror support structure into its operational position, with the mirror located at the end of that structure.

The secondary mirror will play an important role in reflecting light from the telescope's primary mirror towards its sensitive instruments.

Coverage of the secondary mirror deployment will be broadcast live at 9:45 a.m. ET on the NASA TV channel, which can be watched on YouTube or on NASA's website.

Most recently, the JWST completed its sunshield tensioning, which put all five layers of the telescope's sunshield in a fully deployed state. It was streamed live by NASA earlier this week and can still be rewatched on YouTube.

In addition, NASA engineers worked to fix a minor problem with the telescope earlier this week, and the issues were resolved.

James Webb Telescope
An illustration of the James Webb Space Telescope travelling through space. The telescope is currently on its way to its orbital position around the sun, known as L2. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center