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The importance of the James Webb Space Telescope

By Doug Petcash

BOISE, Idaho — Clusters of galaxies, the birth and death of stars and new data on the make-up of celestial bodies. The NASA James Webb Space Telescope started sending back amazing images of deep space earlier this month. They are the most detailed look ever at the origins of the universe.

The NASA team stresses this is just the beginning of a new era in astrophysics and space exploration.

Boise State University Associate Professor of Physics Brian Jackson has been watching these developments closely. His research interests include extrasolar planets, Mars and planetary geoscience. On this edition of Viewpoint he explained where the telescope is in space.

JWST orbits the sun about a million miles from the Earth,” Professor Jackson said. “Hubble Telescope actually orbits the Earth. So it’s always circling around the Earth. But because JWST is an infrared telescope it needs to be far away from sources of heat, like the Earth. So it’s out on its own orbit in space around the sun about a million miles from Earth.”

Professor Jackson also explains what the telescope’s images show in deep space and discusses its importance for science, research and for all of us here on Earth.

Viewpoint airs Sunday mornings at 9 o’clock on KTVB.

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