RFO Speaker Series: James Webb Telescope with Thomas Greene, Ph.D., NASA Ames Research Center

  • Wed, Nov 10, 2021 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Pacific Standard Time

Ticket Price Free Register Now

Join RFO and Thomas Greene, Ph.D., NASA Ames Research Center, who will talk about the James Webb Telescope. 

Dr. Greene will speak about the James Webb Space Telescope’s launch, mission and science in an effort to generate awareness and interest for Sonoma County residents and beyond. This presentation will last for 45 minutes and include a Q & A session afterwards. Robert Ferguson Observatory staff will conclude this event by sharing upcoming Observatory-sponsored James Webb telescope events, resources available for students and educators, and mission updates.  

Thomas Greene is an astrophysicist in the Space Science and Astrobiology Division at NASA's Ames Research Center. He conducts observational studies of exoplanets and young stars and develops astronomical technologies and instrumentation. Dr. Greene is a co-investigator on the NIRCam and MIRI science instruments of the James Webb Space Telescope and serves on the JWST Users Committee.  While at NASA Ames he has served as the Director of the Ames Center for Exoplanet Studies, Project Scientist of the SOFIA mission, and Chief of the Astrophysics Branch. Before joining NASA, he worked at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center on NASA astrophysics missions. Prior to that, Dr. Greene was on the faculty of the University of Hawaii where he was a support astronomer and later Director of the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF). He received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Arizona. Dr. Greene currently co-chairs the US National Academies of Sciences' Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA) and is a NASA representative on the W .M. Keck Observatory Science Steering Committee.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be the most complex and powerful astronomical space observatory ever built. It will launch in December 2021 and will unfold itself before arriving in its final orbit in the Sun – Earth system about a month later. The large 6.5-m diameter JWST primary mirror and its infrared instruments will allow it to see some of the very first luminous objects that formed in the Universe shortly after the Big Bang. Other major science themes of JWST encompass studying the assembly of galaxies, the birth of stars and planetary systems, and planetary systems and the origins of life. JWST will be the premier astrophysics space observatory for NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) over its 5 to 10-year mission lifetime. It will augment the Hubble Space Telescope, which primarily works at visible and ultraviolet light wavelengths. In addition to the topics covered in this talk, many scientists will use JWST to make discoveries that we have not yet imagined.

JWST employs many unique technologies, and the mission has been in development for 20 years. All major hardware components including the telescope, all science instruments, and spacecraft have been completed. The completed integrated observatory will be launched from French Guiana, and scientists from all over the world will use it. This talk will illustrate the mission's science potential and highlight some aspects of its design, technologies, launch, and operations plans.

After registering for this event, you will receive a unique log-in code for this Zoom presentation. Please check your email. 



Date & Time

Wed, Nov 10, 2021 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Robert Ferguson Observatory

The Valley of the Moon Observatory Association (VMOA) is volunteer amateur and professional astronomers plus a small supporting staff organized as a nonprofit association to provide educational programs about science and astronomy for students, the public, and in support of educators.

The VMOA is responsible for the construction, maintenance and utilization of the Robert Ferguson Observatory and functions as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization under the auspices of the California State Parks System, and in cooperation with our local state parks.