James Webb space telescope results shown

TRAVERSE CITY — Community members are invited to a presentation of the first science results from the James Webb space telescope, to be held from 6–8 p.m. Monday, July 10, at the State Theater, 235 E. Front St., Traverse City.

The event is sponsored by NMC's Astronomy Department, the University of Michigan Astronomy Department and the International Astronomical Union, which is holding its annual symposium in Traverse City July 10-14.

Speakers are astrophysicists Jonathan Gardner, deputy senior project scientist for the James Webb space telescope at NASA and Ewine van Dishoeck, professor of molecular astrophysics at Leiden University, the Netherlands. A past IAU president, her work unites the world of chemistry with that of physics and astronomy, and she has been heavily involved in planning major new telescopes.

The James Webb space telescope was launched on Christmas Day 2021 after 25 years of planning, design, development, integration, and testing. Its first science results have engaged the public and surprised the scientists. Webb has already found the most distant galaxies ever seen. Its goals address the origins and history of the universe: the first stars and galaxies that formed after the Big Bang; the morphological and dynamical buildup of galaxies; the formation of stars and planetary systems; and exoplanets, the solar system and the conditions for life.

Gardner will review Webb’s construction, launch and deployments, He will describe what scientists have learned in the first year of science results from the telescope on the deep universe. van Dishoeck will focus on the new insights that Webb has provided on the formation of new stars and planets and the habitability of other worlds. She will highlight the chemical richness of the Webb data, with water and other molecules seen throughout the universe.

A question and answer session will follow the presentation.

Release date: July 7, 2023

For more information:

Jerry Dobek
(231) 995-1271

Other questions:
Cari Noga
Communications Director
(231) 392-1800 (call or text)


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