The James Webb Space Telescope


** CHANGED VENUE: Frank White Building (43) room 102 **
Speaker: Dr Jonathan P. Gardner (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)
Date: 25th February 2011

The James Webb Space Telescope is the successor to the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes and is currently the largest science project in the United States. As a facility-class observatory, the scientific capabilities of Webb address almost all aspects of astronomy. Webb will find the first galaxies to form in the early Universe, decode the processes of star formation, take spectra of exoplanets and study the planets, moons and small bodies of the outer Solar System.  Webb will be a large (6.6m) segmented, deployed, cold (50K) telescope launched to the second Earth-Sun Lagrange point. Webb will have four instruments: The Near-Infrared Camera, the Near-Infrared multi-object Spectrograph, and the Tunable Filter Imager will cover the wavelength range 0.6 to 5 microns, while the Mid-Infrared Instrument will do both imaging and spectroscopy from 5 to 28.5 microns. The Webb project is a partnership between NASA, ESA and CSA, who are supplying instrumentation and the launch vehicle. Webb will be operated by STScI in the same way as Hubble, with the majority of observing time available to astronomers worldwide through annual calls for proposals. Webb is currently under construction; the primary mirror segments and flight instruments are in their final stages of assembly, and the project will start the integration and testing phase soon. In this talk I will review the science and design of the observatory and describe recent progress in construction.