Behind the Webb: Wax On, Wax Off (Episode 10)

The making of the Webb Space Telescope’s mirrors is a complex process. Each surface must be precisely shaped to capture and direct the maximum amount of light to the telescope’s detectors. The mirrors must be ground and polished to a smooth curve that keeps light from bouncing off in unwanted directions. Join us at Tinsley Laboratories in Richmond, Calif., where engineers are bringing Webb’s mirrors to their exact requirements.

“Behind the Webb” is an ongoing series that follows the construction of the Webb Space Telescope, Hubble’s successor. Find more episodes at

“Behind the Webb” archive

The Webb Telescope: Technology at the Extremes