Wednesday, March 20, 2024 at 7:30 PM


Opening the Infrared Treasure Chest

with the Webb Space Telescope

This presentation will be shown on our big screen at the Martz-Kohl Observatory and available online via Zoom. You are encouraged to come to the observatory to virtually meet Dr. Mather and join in our always lively Q&A after his talk. Later, if the weather cooperates, we offer tours and viewing opportunities through the big telescopes. Dress appropriately for the weather as if you were outside. While the classroom is heated, the domes are not.

The James Webb Space Telescope was commissioned in early July 2022. With its cameras and spectrometers, Webb is already producing magnificent images of galaxies, active galactic nuclei, star-forming regions, and planets. Scientists are hunting for some of the first objects that formed after the Big Bang, the first black holes (primordial or formed in galaxies), and beginning to observe the growth of galaxies, the formation of stars and planetary systems, and individual exoplanets through coronography and transit spectroscopy. It also has recently turned its eyes to our Solar System from Mars on out. JWST has the ability to observe a bumblebee at the Earth-Moon distance, in reflected sunlight and thermal emission. Dr. John C. Mather, Nobel Prize Winner in Physics, will show how the Webb telescope was built and what we hope to find. Webb is a joint project of NASA with the European and Canadian space agencies.

Dr. John C. Mather is a Senior Astrophysicist and is the Senior Project Scientist Emeritus for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Since the project start in 1995 until 2023, he led the science teams and represented scientific interests within project management. As a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies he led the proposal efforts for the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) from 1974-76 and came to GSFC to be the Study Scientist (1976-88), Project Scientist (1988-98), and the Principal Investigator for the Far IR Absolute Spectrophotometer (FIRAS) on COBE. With the COBE team, he showed that the cosmic microwave background radiation has a blackbody spectrum within 50 parts per million, confirming the expanding universe model to extraordinary accuracy. The COBE team also made the first map of the hot and cold spots in the background radiation (anisotropy). Dr. Mather received the Nobel Prize in Physics (2006) with George Smoot, for the COBE work.


Zoom Meeting

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Time: March 20, 2024 at 7:30 PM, Eastern Time

Topic: Dr. John Mather
Meeting ID:  816 3413 1855
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