On December 25, 2021, more than thirty years after the first discussions began concerning a successor to the Hubble Telescope, and after more than a decade of construction and testing, an Ariane 5 rocket lifted the James Webb Space Telescope into the skies over French Guiana. Over the next six months the telescope traveled more than a million miles to the gravitational point in space from whence it would peer out upon the infrared universe.
Back on Earth, on Chile’s Cerro Pachón, the Large Synoptic Survey telescope, now christened the Vera C. Rubin Observatory, is nearing completion, with the recent installation of a Commissioning Camera to the telescope assembly. Once completed, the Observatory will image the entire sky every few days. Over the course of ten years it will create a Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST), an enormous set of timelapse images of the universe, that will allow scientists and even amateur astronomers to track changes that indicate events and objects in the night skies.
On Wednesday, September 21, 2022, the Science, Technology and Business Division will welcome NASA Goddard Planetary Scientist, Dr. Stefanie Milam to the Library’s Pickford Theater at 11:30AM to discuss how these, and other new space telescopes underway, will peer into the far reaches of our solar system and into distant corners of the universe. Dr. Milam will describe how this new generation of Big Telescopes will reveal new worlds, moons, interstellar interlopers and more, and spark new insights into our solar system’s formation, history, evolution, and composition. This program is presented through a partnership between our division and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Dr. Stefanie Milam is the James Webb Space Telescope Deputy Project Scientist for Planetary Science and works in the Astrochemistry Laboratory at the NASA Goddard. Dr. Milam conducts high-resolution spectroscopic studies of evolved stars, star forming regions and the Galactic interstellar medium, and has a laboratory which simulates ices and interprets data from missions observing ice features. Dr. Milam also maintains a program in which radio telescopes and space-based observatories collaborate to observe and characterize comets.
Program: Big Telescopes and Big Discoveries in Our Solar System
Date: Wednesday, September 21, 2022
Time: 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Place: Pickford Theater, 3rd floor, Madison Building, Library of Congress
This program will be recorded but will not be streamed live. For those unable to attend this program in person, the recording will be posted on the Library of Congress Event Videos collection page and on the Library’s YouTube channel “Topics in Science” playlist in the coming months. In the meantime, check out some of our past NASA events on space telescopes:
- Finding Our Origins with the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes with NASA’s Jonathan Gardner – March 22, 2018
- Magnifying the Universe with NASA’s Jane Rigby – April 22, 2014
- Beyond Hubble: A New Era of Astronomy with the James Webb Space Telescope with NASA’s Amber Straughn, March 21, 2012
- Galileo: 400 Years of the Telescope with NASA’s Michelle Thaller – Feb. 17, 2010
For inquiries about this program, contact Sean Bryant 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]loc.gov.
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