A&A Colloquium: Dr. Jane Rigby

3:30–4:30 pm ERC 161

Title: Commissioning JWST, and early science

Speaker: Dr. Jane Rigby

Affiliation: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Abstract:   JWST is a large (6.5m diameter), cold (<50 K) infrared-optimized astronomical observatory with a segmented mirror design, which was launched on 25 Dec. 2021, unfolded in space, and entered science operations in July 2022.  Commissioning has demonstrated that JWST is fully capable of achieving the discoveries for which it was built.  Almost across the board, the science performance of JWST is better than expected: the images are sharper, the pointing is more stable and precise, and the science instruments have generally higher total throughput than pre-launch expectations.  Collectively, these factors translate into better sensitivity than assumed before launch, in many cases by tens of percent. As one of the three commissioning scientists for JWST, the speaker was deeply involved in all aspects of commissioning the spacecraft, telescope, and science instruments.  The speaker is also the PI of the JWST Early Release Science program TEMPLATES, which is studying star formation in galaxies that have been gravitationally lensed.  This talk will provide a behind-the-scenes window into commissioning the world's most powerful space observatory, summarize the currently-known science performance of JWST, and highlight early science that is emerging, with a look ahead.

Event Type

Colloquia, Lectures, Talks

Sep 28