NOTE: The 6 p.m. expert panel program link has been updated below.
TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College astronomy instructor Jerry Dobek will host two in-person and livestreamed events on July 12 for the region to see the first images from NASA’s James Webb telescope. Both will be at Milliken Auditorium.
- 10 a.m.: First Images release event including Webb’s first full-color images and spectroscopic data. Join via Zoom
- 6 p.m.: Expert panel program to discuss the first image findings and answer audience questions. Watch on YouTube
The Traverse Area District Library and Sleeping Bear Dunes will also host livestream simulcasts of both events.
Webb is the largest and most complex space science telescope ever built — the premier observatory of the next decade. This international mission, led by NASA in partnership with the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, launched Dec. 25, 2021. After unfolding in space into its final form, Webb successfully arrived at its destination nearly 1 million miles from Earth and began preparing for science operations.
Designed to see the universe in the infrared, Webb will push the field of astronomy into a new era. Webb will be able to study light from distant parts of the universe for the very first time – the first galaxies that formed over 13.5 billion years ago — and give insight into how our universe formed. It will also peer into dusty stellar nurseries to explore distant worlds orbiting other stars, as well as observe objects in our own solar system. Webb will extend the scientific discoveries of other NASA missions like the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.
Dobek, NMC Science Department Chairman, has been looking forward to these images for years. “Galileo’s first use of the telescope in 1610 is analogous to taking a step at a time with Earth-based observation. Hubble was our first hop up into space-based observation. Now the JWST will be a leap toward advancing our knowledge of the universe,” he said.