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Launch James Webb telescope - lectures by Ewine van Dishoeck and Bernhard Brandl

Friday 24 December 2021

On 24 December between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m astronomers Ewine van Dishoeck and Bernhard Brandl will both give a lecture on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST, or Webb for short), which will be launched the next day.

The lectures will be livestreamed via YouTube. The launch itself may be followed on Saturday 25 December via the webcast of NASA and ESA

Launch JWST

Webb will be launched on 25 December at 13.20 CET aboard a European Ariane 5 rocket from the European launch base Kourou in French Guiana. For the past 25 years Dutch designers, engineers and astronomers have worked on two of the scientific instruments on Webb; MIRI and NIRSpec. The heart of the MIRI spectrometer has even been designed and built in the Netherlands.

The James Webb Space Telescope is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, which is still operational more than thirty years after its launch. Hubble changed our view of the universe forever. Whereas Hubble made its discoveries in visible light, Webb observes in the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Cool down period

One of the four instruments on board the JWST is MIRI: the Mid-Infrared Instrument. MIRI was partly developed and built in the Netherlands under the leadership of the Optical-Infrared Group of the Netherlands Institute for Astronomy (NOVA). In addition to Dutch universities, TNO, ASTRON and SRON contributed to the development of this spectrometer.

JWST is folded up in the nose cone of the rocket. After launch, the telescope and solar shield unfold completely in a few weeks and Webb flies far beyond the moon to the second Lagrange point. It takes months for the instruments to cool down completely and be tested. The first results are expected in mid-2022.

Programme online lectures

11.00-11.30 uur: Ewine van Dishoeck (European co-PI of MIRI) talks about Webb's history and research into the formation and evolution of stars and planets (lecture in Dutch).

11.30-12.00 uur: Bernhard Brandl (deputy Co-PI of the Dutch part of MIRI) talks about the construction of Webb and MIRI and briefly highlights the distant universe: the extragalactic observations that Webb will make (lecture in English).

About NOVA

The Dutch Research School for Astronomy (NOVA) is the partnership of the astronomical institutes of the universities of Amsterdam, Groningen, Leiden and Nijmegen. NOVA's mission is to perform groundbreaking astronomical research, to train young astronomers at the highest international level and to share new discoveries with society. The NOVA laboratories are specialised in building state-of-the-art optical/infrared and submillimetre instrumentation for the largest telescopes on earth.

Astronomie.nl (Dutch)
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