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Finding Our Origins with the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes: Lecture with NASA’s Dr. Jonathan Gardner, March 22

This post was authored by Stephanie Marcus, Science Reference Librarian in the Science, Technology, and Business Division.

The Hubble, the first space-based optical telescope, has been circling the Earth and making observations for nearly 28 years since its launch in April 1990.  Just this week it has had its eye on a relic galaxy, NGC 1277, the first such galaxy to be found “nearby” (240 million light years away from Earth).  Its stars were born 10 billion years ago, but it has undergone no further star formation.  Such galaxies are called “red and dead,” but most have been too far away to be studied.  This galaxy is giving scientists a closer look and is unique in that it is a relic of what galaxies were like in the early universe.  The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), scheduled for launch in 2019, will allow astronomers to measure the motions of the globular clusters in NGC 1277, and this will provide the first opportunity to measure how much dark matter the primordial galaxy contains.

We are fortunate to have as our first speaker in the 2018 NASA Goddard Lectures Series, Dr. Jonathan Gardner, who is the Deputy Senior Project Scientist for the JWST.  Dr. Gardner has worked on the Webb telescope project since the late 1990’s.  Dr. Gardner was an undergraduate student intern at NASA working on a camera for the Spitzer telescope, and after graduate school in Hawaii and a fellowship in England, he joined NASA in 1996 to work on a camera for the Hubble.  While Dr. Gardner’s main interest is how galaxies formed and evolved, as Chief of the Cosmology Lab, he works with scientists who study the universe as a whole.

Dr. Gardner will discuss some of the most important astronomical discoveries of the last 20 years, the Hubble Telescope’s greatest accomplishments, and the promise of its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope.

Date:  Thursday, March 22, 2018

Time:  11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Place:  Pickford Theater, 3rd floor, Madison Building

For inquiries about this program, contact Stephanie Marcus in the Science, Technology & Business Division at [email protected] or the division office at: (202) 707-1212. Individuals requiring accommodations for this event are requested to submit a request at least five business days in advance by contacting (202) 707-6362 or [email protected].

The lecture will be later broadcast on the library’s webcast page and YouTube channel “Topics in Science” playlist.

2 Comments

  1. Manny Chavez
    March 24, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    I am interested in the James Webb Telescope schedule.

  2. Stephanie Marcus
    March 28, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    Hi, Manny,
    NASA just announced that the launch of the James Webb Telescope has been delayed until at least May 2020. They are doing some repairs and then more testing to make sure everything is as perfect as possible, since once it is a million miles away, there will be no possibility of servicing it like they’ve done on the Hubble. The observatory is in several parts that haven’t been put together yet–the telescope and other science payload will be joined with the sun shield and the spacecraft bus. Everything is taking longer than planned:(

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