Prof. Mark McCaughrean—The James Webb Space Telescope: A Revolution in Astronomy
After more than three decades of development, construction, integration, and test, the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope was launched from French Guiana on Christmas Day 2021. Following six months of complex deployment and commissioning in orbit around the Sun-Earth L2 point, the observatory has been in full scientific operation since July 2022. In this talk, I’ll give an overview of some of the highlights of the first year of observations, spanning the formation of galaxies in the early universe to planets in our own solar system and around other stars. I’ll also focus on results from my own scientific projects with JWST, studying the formation of stars and planets in the constellations of Orion and Perseus, including the surprising discovery of candidate Jupiter-mass binary objects (or JuMBOs) in the Orion Nebula.
Prof. Mark McCaughrean is the Senior Advisor for Science & Exploration at the European Space Agency. He is also responsible for communicating results from ESA’s astronomy, heliophysics, planetary, and exploration missions to the scientific community and wider public. After studying at the University of Edinburgh, he worked in universities and research organizations in the US, Germany, and UK before joining ESA in 2009. His scientific research focuses on the formation of stars and their planetary systems, and he is an Interdisciplinary Scientist on the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope Science Working Group. He is also the co-founder of Space Rocks, which celebrates space exploration and the art, music, and culture it inspires through public events and more.