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Wishing On a Star – Webb Telescope Could Detect Ancient Clusters
Launching this month, the James Webb Space Telescope will be one of the most revolutionary space exploration technology tools in modern history. Scientists plans 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 at Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences.
“The Webb telescope will simultaneously probe the physical evolution of planets within our solar system, the atmospheres of planets in other stellar systems (i.e., exoplanets, and the possibility of life on them), and some of the earliest stars and galaxies to form in the universe, which is an extraordinary breadth of astrophysical areas to explore with a single mission.
“I am especially excited about the possibility of detecting the very first stars, or perhaps clusters of them, known as population III stars. They are thought to be metal-deficient and extremely massive, but for which detailed models are uncertain. Webb will also reveal details about the formation processes of galaxies, and whether proto-galaxies evolve through ‘direct collapse’ or a series of mergers.
“The James Webb Space Telescope will be revolutionary on many distinct fronts.”
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