Raspberry Pi Peers into Deep Space with James Webb Space Telescope Digital Frame

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Cellar Nerd)

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is one of the greatest tools we have for capturing deep space images with extreme accuracy—capable of detecting radiation from the cosmic microwave background. Early images have made their way back to Earth and the maker behind Cellar Nerd is displaying these wonderous images on a custom, Raspberry Pi-powered JWST-themed digital picture frame designed to resemble the hexagonal golden mirror array found on the telescope.

This picture frame looks just like the JWST except for the center of the array which has been replaced with a screen that functions as a digital picture frame. This JWST replica serves as decorative wall art that Cellar Nerd plans to update with new pictures from the actual telescope as they’re released.

Cellar Nerd makes tons of DIY projects using microelectronics, 3D-printed and CNC carved assets and even dabbles in woodworking to bring his ideas to life. This project was constructed months ago in April but only recently has been able to display the fruits of the labor that went into constructing this monstrous telescope project.

The frame is made to house 18 golden hexagonal mirrors that are carefully aligned on a form he cut by hand with a jigsaw. The screen in the middle was ripped out of an old laptop and is connected to a Raspberry Pi 2, although any Pi with wireless support should work for the purposes of this project as its main function is just to display images.

At the moment, images are put onto the Pi manually and placed in a folder. When the Pi boots, it opens Chromium by default and begins to cycle through the images contained within the folder. According to Cellar Nerd, he’s waiting for an opportunity to automatically pull images from a source that only posts the images captured by the JWST. Until then, you can find the source code used in the project over at GitHub.

If you want to recreate this Raspberry Pi project, check out the build video created by Cellar Nerd that was shared to YouTube. He delves into the process he used to create the frame and also shares many of the resources he created to make the design possible. Be sure to follow Cellar Nerd at Twitter for more cool projects as well as any updates on this clever JWST picture frame project.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.