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Local scientist to be among the first to use new Webb Telescope

Dec 8, 2017

Webb Telescope
Credit jwst.nasa.gov

NASA plans to launch the $8.8 billion dollar James Webb Telescope in the spring of 2019, and a Rochester Institute of Technology professor will be among the first to use it.

Astrophysicist Jeyhan Kartaltepe says she's excited about the opportunity to use this ground breaking telescope, which will help her detect some of the first galaxies that formed in the universe.

"That's the fascinating thing about a telescope like this.  It's like having a time machine.  You can look at things at different distances and therefore different time periods in our universe," she said. "I work on galaxy evolution.  So studying how galaxies formed and evolved and changed over time to become galaxies like the ones we have today, like our own Milky Way galaxy."

She says one of the goals is to study extra solarplanets, or planets outside our solar system, how planets form, and look for signatures of life on other planets.

Jeyhan Kartaltepe is assistant professor in RIT's School of Physics and Astronomy
Credit rit.edu

RIT students and postdoctoral researchers will also take part in the science investigations.

The Webb telescope is regarded by many as the powerful successor to the Hubbel Space Telescope.

It's infrared detectors are designed to peer some 13 billion years into the universe's history.