LONGUEUIL, QC, May 7, 2021 – On Tuesday, May 11, at 1:00 p.m. ET, NASA will hold a virtual briefing about the James Webb Space Telescope, the most powerful and complex space telescope ever built.
The James Webb Space Telescope will be the most powerful space telescope ever built, set to serve astronomers from all over the world. Webb’s powerful look into the universe will help scientists discover alien worlds like exoplanets, learn more about the life cycles of stars, paint a fascinating picture of the early universe and see galaxies as they evolve through time.
The James Webb Space Telescope will be the most important space observatory of the next decade, serving astronomers from all over the world. It is an international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
The CSA is contributing two important elements, built by Honeywell, to the Webb Telescope:
- the Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS), which will allow the telescope to point at and focus on objects of interest
- the Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS), a scientific instrument that will help study many astronomical objects, from exoplanets to distant galaxies
In exchange, Canada will receive a guaranteed share of Webb’s observation time, making Canadian scientists some of the first to study data collected by the most advanced space telescope ever built.
An international collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, the Webb Telescope will allow researchers to study every phase in cosmic history, from the first light after the big bang and the formation of stellar systems hosting planets that could support life, to the evolution of our own solar system.
The Canadian-made FGS will allow Webb to:
- determine its position
- locate its celestial targets
- track moving targets
- remain steadily locked or pointed, with very high precision, on a specific celestial target
The FGS will play an important role in all scientific observations made by Webb and will offset any jitters in the telescope to ensure the collection of clear and detailed pictures of celestial bodies in the universe.
The Canadian NIRISS instrument will enable scientists to determine the composition of exoplanets’ atmospheres, observe distant galaxies, and examine objects that are very close together.
Using a camera sensitive to infrared wavelengths, NIRISS will capture the infrared light emitted by objects and gather information about the spectra of distant planets.
The CSA is supporting the science team’s operations. The science team is responsible for selecting scientific targets and goals that involve the use of the Canadian instrument NIRISS during guaranteed time observations made during Webb’s lifetime.
The Canadian Webb science team is led by:
- Principal Investigator Dr. René Doyon, Université de Montréal
- Project Scientist Dr. Chris Willott, National Research Council Canada’s Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre
Researchers from a number of universities and institutes are involved in the Canadian science team:
- National Research Council Canada’s Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre
- Saint Mary’s University
- Université de Montréal
- University of Toronto
- York University
- Cornell University
- Space Telescope Science Institute
- University of Michigan
- University of Rochester
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the development effort. The main industrial partner is Northrop Grumman; the Space Telescope Science Institute will operate Webb after launch.
If you wish to watch a Link to the virtual briefing has been provided.