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The first James Webb space telescope to choose a scientific program for general observers.

Artist impression of James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope is an observatory that can see the universe further than it has ever been. It is designed to answer outstanding questions about the universe and to make breakthrough discoveries in all fields of astronomy. Webb will observe the first galaxies of the universe, reveal the birth of stars and planets, and look for exoplanets with life potential. Closer to home, Webb looks to our own solar system in a new light.Credit: ESA / ATG medialab.

General Observer scientific observations for NASA/ IPA / CSA James Webb Space TelescopeThe first year of operation has been selected. Offers from ESA member states comprise 33% of the total number of selected offers and correspond to 30% of the telescope time available on the Webb.

NASA / ESA / CSA’s James Webb Space Telescope will be the world’s premier space science observatory when it launches later this year. Webb will unravel the mysteries about our solar system, look at distant worlds around other stars and explore the mysterious structures and origins of our universe. Webb is an international project led by NASA in collaboration with partners, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

Webb mission staff has announced a selection of the General Observer program for the telescope’s first year, called Cycle 1. These unique programs will give the astronomy community around the world the opportunity to investigate scientific goals with Webb. Selected will address a wide variety of science fields and will complement the ESA’s comprehensive mission to increase our understanding of the universe and our place in it.

The average observer’s time with Webb is extremely competitive. As a result, the proposal selection process was rigorous. Members of the astronomy community were assigned to various panels covering a broad range of scientific topics, 52 of them from ESA member countries. COVID-19 The epidemic lasted three weeks and members spent countless hours reading and evaluating the proposals.

All 1172 proposals were received before the deadline.Scientists from 44 countries applied as part of the 6,000 observation hours available. This represents approximately two-thirds of all Round 1 observation time, the remainder will be allocated to the Early Release Science and Guaranteed Time (GTO) program.Of the 266 selected observation proposals, 33% are from ESA member states, complying with 30. % Of the telescope time available on Webb in the first round.Additionally, 41% of selected proposals will use Webb’s NIRSpec instrument primarily and 28% will use the MIRI instrument.

“We celebrate a very successful partnership between the European Space Agency and our colleagues at NASA and CSA. We look forward to the beautiful images and spectrum and the incredible discoveries that Webb will make in the first year. Of observations, ”said Günther Hasinger, ESA’s director of science.

“At ESA, we are excited to see the great contribution and great success of the European astronomy community in gaining valuable observation time on this very special mission: the James Web Space Telescope. Bob, ”said Antellanota, head of the space telescope’s ESA office. Institute of Science (STScI) in Baltimore, USA.

ESA supplies two tools to the James Webb Space Telescope mission. This includes all NIRSpec instruments, a near-infrared spectrograph that will enable the observation of large spectroscopic astronomical objects such as stars or distant galaxies.ESA also has a 50% share. Of the MIRI instrument, the only instrument in a telescope capable of operating at medium infrared wavelengths The telescope will launch an Ariane 5 rocket from a European spacecraft in French Guiana.

The full list of General Observer programs can be found here.

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