HYBRID: In the classroom and online. A Zoom link will be sent to all one day before class.
After two decades of planning, construction, and testing, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was launched on Christmas Day 2021, and became fully operational in July 2022. Its first year of operation has been a spectacular success, producing important data on exoplanets as well as stunning images of galactic nebulae and distant galaxies. In this class Philip Hughes will discuss how telescopes work, the unique challenges of placing a telescope in space, and the science goals that motivated the JWST mission. These goals were to understand the properties of exoplanet atmospheres, the formation of the first stars, and the formation of galaxies. We will learn about the latest results and how they challenge current ideas in areas such as the formation of structure in the Universe. Philip Hughes teaches in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the high-energy particles and magnetic fields in the jets of plasma associated with supermassive black holes in galaxies.