Unless you have been living on Mercury the last few years, you have probably heard of the James Webb Space Telescope. It was successfully launched on Christmas day from French Guyana. It was delayed several years due to the complexity of its deployment. We didn’t want another HST debacle, did we?
JWST is on its way to the second Lagrange point, a stable point outside of Earth’s orbit where it can keep itself shaded from the radiation of the Sun, Earth, and the Moon. This position is about 930,000 miles away. The device successfully deployed its sunshield and segmented primary mirror leaves. This makes it relatively bright, reflecting the radiation from the sun.
Through my equipment problems and very poor conditions, I was able to observe JWST. I used NASA’s Horizons Ephemerides calculator to determine its position. You can see it moving in the following timelapse of 23 images spaced over about an hour. Using the known apparent magnitude of a nearby star, I estimate it’s apparent magnitude to be 15. The ephemeris lists its distance at 0.00774915578662 astronomical units, which translates to about 720,000 miles away, and it was moving around 0.4 miles per second.