@nealmcb's answer to Which direction/constellation is the James Webb is headed towards is "Orion" and links to twitter via

Update: See photo of JWST in Orion by @Skysurfer77x - amazing!

I see two images there now

  1. https://twitter.com/Skysurfer77x/status/1475805919430815753/photo/1
  2. https://twitter.com/Skysurfer77x/status/1475946879456366594/photo/1

The 2nd mentions 155 exposures of 5 seconds each, so I am wondering if these two images are just different stackings of the same data; the first to keep JWST fixed and the second to keep the stars fixed.

Is that right?

Does it mean that if I had some good processing I'd see 155 dots from JWST probably buried in the noise of the image?

And does that mean that if I took the Fourier transform of the second image I'd see a distinct peak representing a fairly steady rate of progress of JWST over the (roughly, guessing) 20 minutes over which the sequence was recorded?

And if I made a dot at the beginning (or end) of each trail in the first image, would those dots look like Orion?

  • $\begingroup$ I'd like to incorporate the images using SE's imgur feature but I don't know if thats cool/okay or not. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 0:24
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    $\begingroup$ See also images last night by Scott Tilley @coastal8049: twitter.com/coastal8049/status/1476095156747046912 $\endgroup$
    – nealmcb
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 14:58

1 Answer 1


I've made the picture and I try to answer the questions or clarify :

  1. First picture (tweet) shows a cropped image of a usual stacked startrail image. So the first image is a simple overlay of all exposures to make objects visible who not follow the motion of the stars. The second picture (tweet) is one of these 155 exposures.

  2. The object isn't visible on all of the 155 images, so I assume it was flaring.

  3. Since trajectory data for JWST is rare and might contain bugs, I've used 4 different sources to calculate its position for my location.

    1. Sky Guide from FifthStarLabs ( Apple )
    2. https://britastro.org/node/26452
    3. https://unistellaroptics.com/ephemeris/
    4. SkySafari App ( Android ) to outsource any sort of inclined geo sat for the same spot during the session.
  4. We're ( myself and Scott Tilley ) still analyzing data and sorting astrometrics to proof the image legit for being JWST.

I'll come back for further information and updates on the process. Meanwhile feel free to ask more questions.

30.12.21 :

We're still on it to proof it legit but so far I can say it's no satellite out of the main catalogues, so that's good news for me but to early to bring the champagne out, I really want be sure 100% (;

I've tried to image it the nights before and I wasn't able to pick it up. It could be just washed out from light pollution or due to it's lower position and to much atmosphere.

I'm not sure what the reason for an increase in brightness was. My tweeted startrail image is processed with Snapseed app to bring it out. A proper aligned stack of the session shows, it was very faint. My guess would be around Mag. 10 or even higher compared to the stars around.

The flaring could have been caused by the solar panels or the ongoing process of sunshield deployment. This could also imply that it is rotating. I even think I did read something about rotation to avoid heating up the telescopes surface for to long, from one direction. But I'm not sure about that...

Cheers, Pascal


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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer! Welcome to Space.se! $\endgroup$
    – 0xDBFB7
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ Cool to see your here $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 17:38
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    $\begingroup$ Wow - really interesting to hear of its variability. I'd love to see frame-by-frame data on brightness or the like. Do we know if it is rotating at all? $\endgroup$
    – nealmcb
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 18:44

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