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James Webb Space Telescope pumpkin stencils can add cosmic mystery to Halloween


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Fans of genre mashups can bring slightly cosmic mystery into their spooky Halloween season using latest pumpkin carving stencils featuring the James Webb Space Telescope.

Offered free of charge with instructions on the Canadian Space Agency website, the three stencils provide three levels of difficulty for people seeking to carve up their gourd in recognition of the pioneering latest space telescope.

The easiest stencil provides a guide for creating an overview of the Webb telescope itself, with its diamond-shaped sun shield and huge primary mirror. The progressively more difficult stencils recreate Webb’s already iconic hexagonally segmented primary mirror, with the third and most difficult stencil adding a spider web to the Webb mirror outline.

The actual Webb telescope mirror is greater than 21 feet across and composed of 18 golden, beryllium segments, and will hold loads of pumpkins. It’s the biggest mirror ever flown on an area telescope, dwarfing the 7.8-foot-diameter primary mirror of the venerable Hubble Space Telescope.

A project of Nasa, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, the Webb telescope launched on Christmas Day in 2021 and returned its first public images on 6 July, including stunning images of distant galaxies and glowing nebulae. The telescope has gone on to disclose a few of the oldest stars ever observed, the glowing halo of the planet Neptune, distant exoplanets around other suns, and a latest image of the Pillars of Creation, a shocking portion of the Eagle Nebular first imaged by Hubble in 1995.

The pumpkin carving templates aren’t the one spooky space-themed space agency activity this October.

Nasa has also gotten within the act, changing the name of its exoplanets account on the social media website Twitter to “Nasa Hexoplanets“ and sharing spooky art to accompany descriptions of very real extreme planets and features of the universe which may fit right at home in a horror story. Exoplanets resembling HD 189733b, a blue gas giant with 5,400-mile-per-hour winds blowing clouds of glass shards.

Terrestrial pumpkin carving is a bit safer, however the Canadian Space Agency recommends you exercise caution when using a pointy knife to carve your gourd.

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