Wish for a star – Webb telescope could detect ancient clusters

Media Tip Sheets

Eric Coughlin

Launched this month, the James Webb Space Telescope will be one of the most revolutionary space exploration technology tools in modern history. Scientists plan to use the powerful telescope to study planets and other bodies in our solar system to learn more about their origin and evolution.

Eric Coughlin is an Assistant Professor of Physics in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University.

Coughlin says:

“The Webb telescope will simultaneously probe the physical evolution of planets in our solar system, the atmospheres of planets in other star systems (i.e. exoplanets and the possibility of life on them) and some of the early stars and galaxies to form in the universe, which is an extraordinary expanse of astrophysical areas to explore with a single mission.

“I’m particularly excited about the possibility of detecting the very first stars, or perhaps star clusters, known as Population III stars. They are considered metal deficient and extremely massive, but for which detailed models are uncertain. Webb will also reveal details about the processes of galaxy formation and whether proto-galaxies evolve by “direct collapse” or a series of mergers.

“The James Webb Space Telescope will be revolutionary on many distinct fronts. “

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