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Kent artist featured on new postage stamp celebrating NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

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Posted at 3:52 PM, May 10, 2022

KENT, Ohio — A Kent artist’s depiction of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is being used on one of the latest postage stamps to be unveiled by the U.S. Postal Service.

James Vaughn of Kent created a digital depiction of the orbiting telescope against a starscape, combined with a photograph of a star and distant space that was taken by Webb to confirm the perfect alignment of its 18 mirror segments, according to a news release from USPS.

Vaughn grew up near Akron and worked in the advertising and fashion industry in Chicago for 25 years before returning to Ohio, where he works from his own studio, specializing in aerospace illustration, according to the biography on his website.

The James Webb Telescope illustration used on the postage stamp was also featured on the February 2016 cover of "Science" magazine. At the time, Vaughn described his art style as “adventurous and romantic,” especially when compared to the “accurate, but soulless, computer renderings” typically seen in industry publications.

“Because of my unique background and training; I am able to combine digital technology, with classical painting and artistic aesthetics, to create pictures that appeal to the heart as well as the mind,” Vaughn said in a 2016 blog post on LinkedIn about the “Science” cover.

The telescope, launched on Dec. 25, 2021, is the largest and most complex telescope ever deployed in space and is capable of peering directly into the early cosmos.

Vaughn’s illustration is not the only Northeast Ohio connection to the NASA project. Braze Solutions LLC in Solon, and the company’s Research and Development Director Alex Greenspan, crafted crucial cooling lines for the telescope, ensuring it can capture long-exposure and high-quality images of the cosmos.

“Without that refrigeration unit the images we’re trying to detect in this first phase of its flight would not be possible," said Cleveland State University Research Astronomer Jay Reynolds in Dec. 2021, when the telescope was launched. “The colder the sensor is, the longer they can expose the image and the greater the quality of the image will be. So this is a critical factor, and we have Northeast Ohio to thank for it.”

RELATED: Solon company creates key components for James Webb Telescope

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