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Selection of the first James Webb Space Telescope General Observer Scientific Programmes

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Science & Exploration

30/03/2021
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The Normal Observer scientific observations for the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb House Telescope’s first 12 months of operation have been chosen. Proposals from ESA member states comprise 33% of the full variety of chosen proposals and correspond to 30% of the accessible telescope time on Webb.

The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb House Telescope would be the world’s premier area science observatory when it launches later this 12 months. Webb will clear up mysteries about our Photo voltaic System, take a look at distant worlds round different stars, and probe the mysterious buildings and origins of our Universe. Webb is a world programme led by NASA with its companions, the European House Company (ESA) and the Canadian House Company (CSA).

Mission officers for Webb have introduced the collection of the Normal Observer programmes for the telescope’s first 12 months, often known as Cycle 1. These particular programmes will present the astronomical neighborhood worldwide with their first in depth alternative to analyze scientific targets with Webb. The chosen proposals tackle all kinds of science areas and can assist fulfill ESA’s overarching mission to additional our understanding of the Universe and our place in it.

Normal Observer time with Webb is extraordinarily aggressive. Because of this, the proposal choice course of is rigorous. Members of the astronomical neighborhood had been assigned to completely different panels overlaying broad scientific subjects. Of those, 52 had been from ESA member states. The panels met nearly, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, over the course of three weeks and members spent extra numerous hours studying and assessing the proposals.

A complete of 1172 proposals had been acquired earlier than the deadline. Scientists from 44 international locations utilized for a portion of the 6000 observing hours made accessible. This represents about two-thirds of all Cycle 1 observing time, the remainder of which is allotted to Early Launch Science and Assured Time (GTO) programmes. Of the 266 chosen observing proposals, 33% are from ESA member states, equivalent to 30% of the accessible telescope time on Webb through the first cycle. Moreover, of the chosen proposals, 41% will primarily use Webb’s NIRSpec instrument and 28% will primarily make use of the MIRI instrument.

“We have fun the very profitable partnership between the European House Company and our colleagues at NASA and CSA. We stay up for the gorgeous photos and spectra and the superb discoveries that Webb will make on this first 12 months of observations,” mentioned Günther Hasinger, ESA Director of Science.

“At ESA, we’re thrilled to see the nice engagement and improbable success of the European astronomical neighborhood in acquiring treasured statement time on this extraordinary mission, the James Webb House Telescope,” mentioned Antonella Nota, Head of the ESA Workplace on the House Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, USA.

ESA supplied two devices to the James Webb House Telescope mission. This contains the whole lot of the NIRSpec instrument, a near-infrared spectrograph that can allow giant spectroscopic surveys of astronomical objects comparable to stars or distant galaxies. ESA additionally has a 50% share of the MIRI instrument, the one instrument on the telescope that’s able to working at mid-infrared wavelengths. The telescope will launch on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.

The complete checklist of Normal Observer programmes is out there here.

Contacts
Antonella Nota
Head of the European House Company Workplace – STScI
ESA HST Undertaking Scientist
ESA JWST Undertaking Scientist for Visitor Observers
E mail: nota@stsci.edu

ESA Media Relations
E mail: media@esa.int

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