Stargazing: Lehi Museum Collaborates with NASA to Teach About Webb Telescope Images

NASA revealed four new images Tuesday taken by the James Webb Telescope. This image shows the Carina Nebula. The Hutchings Museum Institute in Lehi, chosen by NASA as the official host of the Webb events, held an event on Saturday to celebrate the first images from the telescope (NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI)

Estimated reading time: 5-6 minutes

LEHI – recent photos from James Webb Space Telescope Spread around the world this week, show New detailed images of galaxies and stars Shows snapshots from billions of years in the past.

The Hutchings Museum Institute In Lehi, which was chosen by NASA as the official host of Webb’s events, Saturday it celebrated the first images released from the James Webb Space Telescope, and shared what can be learned through the telescope images.

Joshua Loringer talked about the importance of the photos and answered questions. He is an assistant professor of physics at Utah Valley University and will be the principal investigator for the two Webb Space Telescope programs he has proposed.

Loringer said the Webb Telescope project started about 20 years ago, and it was Started Christmas morning 2021. It took a month to open the mirrors and install the camera — Loringer said the telescope was about the size of a tennis court and had to be torn down to send it into space. He said there were many different things that could happen to cause a project to fail – 344 one point of failure – but everything went perfectly.

The telescope is pointed from Earth toward space, and includes an important sunshield keeping the side pointing at about minus 390 degrees, while the side facing the sun is at about 260 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the presentation, Lothringer compared multiple images taken of the same area by the Hubble telescope and the Webb telescope, and explained that the Webb telescope reads infrared wavelengths — one reason it needs to be so cold is that it doesn’t read its own image. the heat. The new telescope also has a mirror made of gold, because gold is good at reflecting red light at long wavelengths.

Because the telescope does not look at visible light, the images shared by NASA have colors that are interpreted from the colors that appear in different images of infrared light.

The infrared images from the Web include a lot of additional information, including the composition of galaxies and stars and their distance from the telescope. Loringer said the telescope showed galaxies so far away that we’re looking at what happened over 13.1 billion years ago, some of the first galaxies to follow the Big Bang.

“Every moment Webb tells you something…and of course, there’s more to come,” he said.

Joshua Lothringer, associate professor at UVU, talks about how the James Webb Space Telescope was launched and opened into space at an event at the Hutchings Museum Institute on Saturday.
Joshua Lothringer, associate professor at UVU, talks about how the James Webb Space Telescope was launched and opened into space at an event at the Hutchings Museum Institute on Saturday. (Photo: Emily Ashcraft, KSL)

The James Webb Space Telescope has enough fuel to keep it orbiting the sun out of Earth’s orbit for about twenty years, and every year scientists can submit proposals to make the telescope study something for them.

Loringer accepted two proposals, one to study brown dwarf stars and the other to study exoplanets. He explained that the information from the telescope is public, but when a specific person does a study, the information is private for up to a year to allow them to research before it becomes public.

Anyone can go online to see the timetable for where the telescope will look over the next week. Loringer said he is currently researching a supernova.

After the show, the museum played a Live discussion on YouTube With NASA scientists looking at pictures.

Daniela Larsen, executive director of the Hutchings Museum Institute, said the museum is investing in sharing information about current explorations. She said there is still a lot to discover, both on Earth and in space, and the fact that Webb looks directly at events in the past is very interesting to the museum.

“This is a generational moment in exploring the universe,” Larsen said. “We are thrilled to celebrate this great achievement with the community and our friends at NASA as the first detailed images from this wonderful telescope are released to the world.”

She said that participating in space exploration can inspire children, and it is good for them to have events that they can participate in and prefer. The museum contains NASA Summer Series With other space-related discussions hoping to engage the kids in bringing a spirit of exploration to Utah.

“These images show the universe as it was millions of years ago and allow us to literally see the past between our solar system, our galaxy and distant galaxies from the early ages of space. This exploration will reveal discoveries unimaginable now that will help propel our planet into the future.”

The building that houses the museum was built in 1919 by World War I veterans, but there are plans to add 70,000 square feet to the building, while preserving the historic facade, by 2026; Larsen said the city has donated some land behind the building to accommodate the growth. She said they plan to continue partnering with NASA and National Geographic to bring in new, interesting exhibits.

She said the museum Unique in that it is not a city, state, or church museum, and focuses on local history from the many different cultures that have contributed to the state’s history.

This is a generation’s moment in exploring the universe.

– Daniela Larsen, Executive Director of the Hutchings Museum Institute

The Hutchings Museum Institute’s partnership with NASA provides access to continuing educational training and classroom resources for educators, and an opportunity for educators to bring students to the museum. This is part of NASA’s Collaborative Program for Sharing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and Professional Development for Educators.

“The STEM Sharing Program is a great way for educators to take advantage of exciting information, projects, and science collected through the Webb Telescope that NASA and other scientists around the world use for their classrooms,” Larsen said.


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Emily Ashcraft joined as a reporter in 2021. She covers court and legal affairs, as well as health, faith and religion news.

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