New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science Joins NASA in Nationwide Celebration of The James Webb Space Telescope Launch

December 09, 2021

Anne Wrinkle

Albuquerque, NM – New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science has joined almost 500 sites across the country to celebrate the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s next great space science observatory. The museum will offer a range of public programs to bring the excitement of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) to children, teens, and adults.

Webb is the largest and most complex space science telescope ever built – the premier observatory of the next decade. This international mission, led by NASA in partnership with the European and Canadian space agencies, will launch in December 2021.

The observatory will provide a new view of the cosmos and push the field of astronomy into a new era. The telescope will observe the universe in the infrared, peering inside dust clouds to study light from distant parts of the universe for the very first time – the first galaxies that formed about 13.5 billion years ago – and give us insight into how our universe evolved. It will also explore distant worlds in other solar systems, as well as objects in our own area of space. Webb will extend the scientific discoveries of other NASA missions like the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.

“It is said that The James Webb Space Telescope will be the first observatory to see the first light from the first galaxies in the emerging universe!” said Tony Hull, who helped build Webb, and is now an Adjunct Professor of Physics and Astronomy at UNM. “When I looked to the skies as a boy, I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to lead the team that polished all the mirrors on such an amazing instrument for science.  This is for all of us, and our world will be different for what Webb will see.”

Hull and another UNM professor, Dr. Diana Dragomir, who also plans to study the data delivered from Webb, will present a talk on the evening of Dec. 17 and return for a family day the next morning. Here are the highlights:

WHEN: Friday, December 17, 6 8 PM
WHAT: Looking to the Edge of the Universe: James Webb Space Telescope Lecture

WHO: UNM Professors Diana Dragomir and Tony Hull
WHAT: Discover how the James Webb Space Telescope was built, its novel capabilities, and what it will do once it reaches the observation point in space.
WHERE: New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science Planetarium
ADMISSION: Free In-Person and Online; Reservations required for the planetarium due to occupancy limit

Make a reservation, join the webinar, and read more details HERE.

WHEN: Saturday, December 18, 11 AM – 3 PM

WHAT: Pre-Launch Party: Celebrate the James Webb Space Telescope’s mission with local STEM experts, fun activities, and informational videos.
WHERE: New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
ADMISSION: Included in Museum Admission



NMMNHS is located at 1801 Mountain Road NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87104, (505) 841-2800  These events will be IN-PERSON, and Covid-safe practices are in place; masks are required.

To learn more about the Webb telescope, visit For information about other Webb community event locations, visit


About the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Trustees of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation, through the generous support of donors. Established in 1986, the mission of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is to preserve and interpret the distinctive natural and scientific heritage of our state through extraordinary collections, research, exhibits, and programs designed to ignite a passion for lifelong learning. The NMMNHS offers exhibitions, programs, and workshops in Geoscience, including Paleontology and Mineralogy, Bioscience, and Space Science. It is the Southwest’s largest repository for fossils and includes a Planetarium and a large format 3D DynaTheater. 

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