Above: Artist rendering of the James Webb Space Telescope fully deployed in space. Credit: NASA

Astronomers around the world had an especially exciting Christmas in 2021 when the James Webb Space Telescope—NASA’s historic, $10 billion space observatory—launched on the morning of Dec. 25. Succeeding the Hubble Telescope, JWST is the most complex space science instrument ever built.

The telescope’s successful launch is the culmination of 30 years of work by scientists and engineers around the globe, including two astronomers from the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy: Klauss Hodapp and the late John Hall. Hodapp and Hall spent decades developing and testing from Maunakea the infrared sensors that will enable JWST to peer deeper into the universe than ever before.