Dr. Silvia Scheithauer (Max-Planck Institut für Astronomie, Heidelberg)
A Christmas present for astronomers: the new view into the infrared universe with the James Webb Space Telescope
On December 25, 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launched into space from Europe's Korou Spaceport in French Guiana.
JWST is the largest observatory ever sent into space and is an international collaboration of the U.S., European and Canadian space agencies NASA, ESA and CSA. It carries four scientific instruments designed to unlock more secrets of the universe: With JWST, we will be able to look farther into the past than ever before and observe the first galaxies, we will learn more about the birth of stars and planets, and we will be able to study planets outside our own solar system. The technology of the satellite itself is unique and a masterpiece of engineering. For example, the observatory - which is the size of a tennis court - had to be folded up for launch on the Ariane 5 rocket and then unfold again completely automatically in space. The development of JWST began back in 1996, the construction itself in 2004, the four instruments were ready between 2012 and 2013 and the entire satellite in 2021. In this talk I will give an overview of the fascinating history of JWST, the major steps in construction and testing, and the scientific objectives.