Why doesn't the James Webb Space Telescope have any cameras onboard?

Great, informative article, as ever. Question - is there any other earth / orbit based telescope that could capture a "natural" image of the Webb, or is it simply too small and dim?

Gary B.
That would be cool!

Wiki has some info on this.

Gaia is currently at L2, but I don't know if it is capable of imaging the JWST, but perhaps.

There is another scope there but it is only an x-ray scope, I think.

Other missions are scheduled there in the future including Euclid, so if Gaia can't or won't, then there may be more chances in the future.
Nov 19, 2021
JWST is in shadow from the Sun, Earth and Moon, is illuminated only by starlight. It is now cooled down to several hundred degrees below zero thus can only be seen in the infrared by something colder than it. I believe Gaia only works in the visible spectrum.
Sep 9, 2020
So, I was initially wondering if the sunward side of the shield is what could - possibly..... - be picked up by another scope. The business side of the Webb is of course intentionally as locally light-free as possible, and thus all-but-invisible.


Apr 1, 2020
Not sure we have anything in orbit that can see something so (relatively) close. Maybe a good home telescope might be able to pick it up.

-Wolf sends
If my math is correct, the apparent magnitude for the JWST will be a max. of about 14.2 at L2.

This assumes the shields are reflecting the light back towards Earth and with an albedo of 0.92 (SWAG).

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