Is there really an “edge” to everything“? For centuries, scientists, scholars, and even simple farmers have wondered about space - and how to see, up close, what is so far away.
The Boy at the Edge of Everything tells us that he lives “SO far away that if you took the strongest telescope in the whole world and looked at the furthest thing it can see, And then you went to that place, with the telescope, and set it up again, and looked for the next furthest place, and went there. And then did that over and over, about 20 million times…that’s only about halfway to where he [is]!”
So, what is “the strongest telescope in the whole world”? Currently, it is the James Webb Telescope, which was launched on Christmas Day in 2021. Created by an international team including NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), it is 100 times more powerful than the Hubble Telescope that was launched in 1990. Instead of orbiting the earth like the Hubble, the Webb Telescope orbits the sun, a million miles away from the earth!
5 fun facts about the Webb Telescope!
- It is named after James E. Webb, a former NASA administrator who ran the space agency from 1961-1968. He was a strong supporter of space science and is heralded for “[doing] more for science than perhaps any other government official”.
- The Webb Telescope is nearly the size of a tennis court! It was so big that to fit inside the rocket, it had to be folded origami-style and then unfolded in space!
- Both the Webb and Hubble telescopes work by using curved mirrors. The Webb’s primary mirror is almost three times the size of the Hubble’s, allowing it to see further and deeper. The Webb’s mirror is made of 18 hexagonal segments rather than one big sheet of glass like the Hubble’s. It looks like a giant yellow honeycomb!
- The Webb Telescope has 4 major “science goals” to study and explore - the early universe, galaxies over time, star life cycles, and other worlds and planetary systems!
- The images from the Webb telescope are posted for the world to see! Click here to access the collection -- it’s updated almost daily! You can also see recent images from the Hubble Telescope, which is still in operation.
In this play, both Simon and The Boy travel somewhere far away from their usual home. What do they gain from changing their perspective? Is there an area in your life that could benefit from a change in your perspective?
Did you know that BYU has a planetarium that is open to the general public? The cast and crew of The Boy at the Edge of Everything took a field trip to learn more about the world of the play! Click here to find out about upcoming show times.