The $9bn observatory seeks out faint light from the first stars and galaxies, providing a glimpse into cosmic creation.

The world’s largest and most powerful space telescope has rocketed away on a high-stakes quest to behold light from the first stars and galaxies and scour the universe for hints of life.

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope soared from French Guiana on South America’s northeastern coast, riding a European Ariane rocket into the morning sky on Saturday.

The $9bn observatory hurtled towards its destination 1.6 million kilometres (1 million miles) away – or more than four times beyond the moon. It will take a month to get there and another five months before its infrared eyes are ready to start scanning the cosmos.

First, the telescope’s enormous

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