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

  • Thu, Oct 20, 2022 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Pacific Standard Time

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Join RFO and Thomas Greene, Ph.D., NASA Ames Research Center, who will talk about the James Webb Telescope: NASA's Greatest Observatory and its Great Science!


The James Webb Space Telescope is the most complex and powerful astronomical space observatory ever built. It launched on Christmas Day in 2021 and has recently been commissioned in its final orbit in the Sun – Earth system. The large 6.5-m diameter JWST primary mirror and its science instruments will allow it to see some of the very first galaxies 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 and Canadian Space Agencies (ESA and CSA). It employs several unique technologies, and the mission was in development for over 20 years. Scientists from all over the world will use it during its mission lifetime which could be 20 years or more.  JWST will augment the Hubble Space Telescope, which primarily works at shorter 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.  In this talk Dr. Greene will illustrate the mission's science goals and highlight some aspects of its design, technologies, and initial science results.


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.


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Date & Time

Thu, Oct 20, 2022 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.

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