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Eric Smith June 1 Cafe


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The more we know about the Cosmos the stranger it seems to get. The new Kepler space telescope has detected many new “exoplanet”—planets in other star systems. Some of these planets are quite strange. One has the density of Styrofoam. Another seems to be hotter than the star it revolves around. Kinks in the Kepler telescope’s sensors have been worked around using computers and the ground and it is now providing amazing data from millions of star systems. The refurbished Hubble Space Telescope has now peered more deeply into the past than ever before to almost the dawn of the Universe. In addition, the James Webb Telescope will soon allow us to see even further back in time. Come hear Dr. Eric P. Smith, NASA astrophysicist show and tell us about the Latest and Greatest News from the Cosmos.

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Eric Smith June 1 Cafe

  1. 1. Space Astronomy News Eric P. Smith Astrophysics Division NASA Headquarters
  2. 2. 2009-2010: A Banner Year • March 2009 Kepler Launch • May 2009 Hubble 5 servicing mission, th Herschel and Planck launch • December 2009 WISE launch • May 2010 SOFIA first light
  3. 3. 3
  4. 4. Kepler Goal: Determine the Frequency of Earth-like planets Where: The Cygnus-Lyra direction along the Orion arm of our galaxy. How far: Design point is the Sun at 273 parsecs (800 light years). Useful stars are between 100 pc (300 l.y.) and 1000 pc (3000 l.y.)
  5. 5. How Kepler Spots Planets
  6. 6. Kepler’s First Planets
  7. 7. Planck Results
  8. 8. Herschel: Life’s Building Blocks
  9. 9. WISE
  10. 10. SOFIA First Light
  11. 11. Hubble Science
  12. 12. Missions in Development
  13. 13. James Webb Space Telescope Wavelength Coverage: 0.6-28 microns. Primary Mirror diameter: 6.5 meters Imaging and Spectroscopy Launch: 2014 Lifetime: 5-10 years Partnership with European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency
  14. 14. James Webb Space Telescope Science Goals First Light What are the 1st luminous objects? Simulation of the first stellar clusters at the What is the nature end of the Cosmic of the 1st galaxies? Dark Age Do galaxy collisions play a role Galaxy in their evolution? Galaxies in Assembly What is the origin and importance of GOODS Field dark matter in the universe? How do clouds collapse? The Eagle Nebula Birthplace of How does environment affect star as seen in the Stars and planetary formation? near-infrared How do planets form? JWST (20 µm) Spitzer (24 µm) Visible (HST) Planets and What is the nature and evolutionary timescale of debris disks? Life How are habitable zones established? Fomalhaut
  15. 15. How is Webb Different?
  16. 16. Full Scale Model in NYC
  17. 17. Science Instruments Near Infrared Spectrometer Near Infrared Camera Fine Guidance Sensor Mid-Infrared Instrument
  18. 18. International Missions Plato Euclid SPICA
  19. 19. International X-ray Observatory How do supermassive black holes grow? Does this change over cosmic time? How does galaxy cluster evolution constrain the nature of dark matter and dark energy? How are particles accelerated to extreme energies producing shocks, jets and cosmic rays?
  20. 20. Laser Interferometer Space Antenna First New Window on the Universe in ~50 years