is there a resource online which shows the evolution of the JWST temperatures through time?

I am referring to these shown in the https://jwst.nasa.gov/content/webbLaunch/whereIsWebb.html website:

temperature screenshoot

Or, otherwise, a public resource where these data are available to plot? Why? just for fun, it would be nice to see the progression of the temperature through the various stage of the deployment or as the spacecraft gets farther away from the sun (the effect of which I assume would be quite negligible).

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    $\begingroup$ That's a very interesting question. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Jan 8, 2022 at 0:30
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    $\begingroup$ OK. I'm apparently not allowed to show a third party's twitter address in an answer, but twitter.com/giopagliari is compiling a nice graph of the temps from the website, with updates each time the display changes. $\endgroup$ Jan 8, 2022 at 5:55
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    $\begingroup$ @CuteKItty_pleaseStopBArking, the relevant tweet is at twitter.com/giopagliari/status/1480858031684530176 $\endgroup$
    – dfeuer
    Jan 11, 2022 at 22:10
  • $\begingroup$ I want historical data too... Knowing the current value with no reference is useless. Currently, the B6 panel is moving -11.0mm and -10.0mm? Like what. Seeing time plots of these would be super useful to understanding. $\endgroup$ Jan 15, 2022 at 4:36
  • $\begingroup$ thanks @CuteKItty_pleaseStopBArking , this is exactly what I was looking for. The raw data would be awesome but this is as close as it get. $\endgroup$
    – nick2k3
    Jan 16, 2022 at 10:05

3 Answers 3


NASA has just (2. Aprli 2022) added "Temperature Plots" to Where is Webb. Those are interactive plots with quite some additional information.

It seems, that as of now (4.4.2022) the temperatures are pretty much in equilibrium and only the actively cooled MIRI-Instrument has to reach it's working temperature. JWST Instruement temperature plots


Found this link on reddit: https://colab.research.google.com/drive/1m6GeF3YBokW-8zmP0muW7VB4TP0_aNzT#scrollTo=wGBYmC5lhy8k

Looks up to date currently.

Webb temperature graph


If you find temp/time data for the publically displayed points, in order to make sense of the data at any point, e.g., a,b,c,d, you need to know exactly where that sensor is and to what that sensor is attached to on the vehicle. As the vehicle moves things around and opens things up, that data point temperature can change dramatically even while being realatively at the same solar distance. The temp will depend on it's position relative to the sun as well as it's distance from the sun, the view factor to the sun, the thermal mass associated with the area to which it is mounted, and thermal conductance to attached structures. A sensor on the thin sheet of the sunshield facing the sun will show a temp based primarily on orientation and distance to the sun. A sensor on a beam will take time to equilibrate due to combinations of radiant input and thermal conductance to attached structure areas. A temp on the backside of the sunscreen, radiating to space, will be at a temperate controlled by thermal input from attached structures.

I cannot find a detailed description of where the published sensor temperatures (a,b,c,d) are located and to what they are attached. I was hoping to find out how well the actual temperature are comparing to predicted temperatures for the same points. I did thermal analysis on Apollo (eons ago) and hoped to see how things had improved over the years. Perhaps later data dumps will provide info.

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    $\begingroup$ "where the published sensor temperatures (a,b,c,d) are" , on website jwst.nasa.gov/content/webbLaunch/whereIsWebb.html click "hot side". the infographic shows locations, with descritive " a) Sunshield UPS Average Temperature (hot side: Sunshield Structure) b) Spacecraft Equipment Panel Average Temperature (hot side: Spacecraft Bus) c) Primary Mirror Average Temperature (cold side: Mirrors) d) Instrument Radiator Temperature (cold side: ISIM)" This good enough for you? $\endgroup$ Jan 8, 2022 at 5:49
  • $\begingroup$ @CuteKItty_pleaseStopBArking I imagine tckosvic is looking for a lot more details about where exactly the temperature sensors are on those elements. They would surely also want to see the individual readings rather than averages to get a good understanding of what's going on. $\endgroup$
    – dfeuer
    Jan 10, 2022 at 2:36
  • $\begingroup$ Do you have any guesses about why NASA isn't releasing full live temperature data? $\endgroup$
    – dfeuer
    Jan 10, 2022 at 7:46
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    $\begingroup$ I don't see why nasa couldn't release a csv file of all the individual temps perhaps on 5 minute time step. An investigator would also need details as to where each sensor is located as well as vehicle structural details in the area of the sensor. Would also need vehicle orientation vs time with respect to the sun. Then some interesting analysis could be done. Knowledge of temperature constraints assigned to each sensor area would show how close to critical temperature any sensor area had gotten. Don't think there would be thousands of temp data points likely a few dozen. $\endgroup$
    – tckosvic
    Jan 10, 2022 at 17:33

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