Why does the James Webb Space Telescope need to be kept cold?

via NPR

In order to make these observations, the scientific instruments on the telescope need to be kept incredibly cold. That means a crucial part of the telescope is the massive sunshield that will protect it from the heat of the sun.

“The James Webb Space Telescope Sunshield is completely unique,” says James Cooper, NASA James Webb Space Telescope Sunshield manager. “There are no other telescopes that use this type of shield for cooling of their optics.”

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