Red rock meets stars: James Webb Space Telescope launch event

Bryce Canyon National Park teamed up with NASA on Nov. 6 to celebrate the completion of the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most complex telescope ever created. 

The event included activities such as space coloring pages for kids, informational videos about the telescope and space exploration, a late night telescope demonstration and a Zoom interview with Dr. Kevin Hainline, an assistant research professor at Steward Observatory.

Hainline was a researcher for the NIRCam imager on the telescope, one of four main instruments that will help Webb on its mission of observing the universe farther than ever before seen.

“The James Webb space telescope is offering this opportunity to peer deeper into the cosmos than humanity has ever been able to do before,” said Public Information Officer Peter Densmore. “While Bryce Canyon is this place that for many people offers this opportunity to see in the night sky… I feel like we’re a natural pair.”


Bryce Canyon is a recognized Dark Sky Park and offers different events for astronomers of all levels and experiences. Events such as the Annual Astronomy Festival and guided full moon hikes allow people to experience the stars in a once-in-a-lifetime way.

The launch day for the telescope is set for Dec 18, 7:20 EST. The telescope will launch on an Ariane 5 rocket located in Kourou, French Guiana. Kourou is near the equator, allowing the rocket to use the momentum of the Earth to propel the satellite into orbit while using less fuel.

The telescope’s entire journey to its final location and start-up of systems will take up to 30 days to complete. Upon arrival, researchers from all over the world will be able to see the stars like never before. More information regarding the James Webb Space Telescope can be found on their website

Bryce Canyon is a beautiful location full of natural wonders both day and night, for information about what the park has to offer, including hikes, events and activities, can be found on their website.

Story by Skyler Jones

Photos by Skyler Jones and provided by NASA