The James Webb Space Telescope: Atmospheres of Other Worlds

Jan 30, 2023 - 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Hewlett Teaching Center, Room 200 and online

Prof. Bruce Macintosh (UC Observatories & KIPAC/Stanford)

The James Webb Space Telescope: Atmospheres of Other Worlds

JWST is an extraordinary technological achievement. Its ultra-precise optical system makes it a powerful tool for studying extrasolar planets (exoplanets) - worlds that orbit around other stars. Specifically, JWST is capable of measuring the chemical composition of exoplanet atmospheres with unprecedented sensitivity. In this lecture, Prof. Macintosh will discuss the most exciting exoplanet science planned for JWST: it will study giant planets like our own Jupiter by blocking the glare of bright stars, allowing us to understand how these worlds form. The telescope will also study smaller planets as they eclipse their host stars; we can identify chemical traces in their atmosphere when these planets are backlit by starlight. Prof. Macintosh will highlight recent results using both techniques. The same techniques will be adopted by JWST and future successor telescopes to study Earth-sized planets and look for signs of life.

Bruce MacintoshAbout the Speaker

Prof. Bruce Macintosh is the Director of University of California Observatories and the former Deputy Director of KIPAC. His research focuses on extrasolar planets, in particular characterizing such planets through direct imaging, and on using adaptive optics to sharpen the images of telescopes. Prof. Macintosh was the Principal Investigator of the Gemini Planet Imager, an advanced adaptive optics planet-finder moving to the Gemini North telescope in Hawaii. Prof. Macintosh has worked extensively in astrophysics science policy, including the recently-completed Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 Decadal Survey, and believes strongly that the field of astronomy and physics is supposed to be more inclusive, diverse, and supportive.

Directions and Parking

This event will take place in the Hewlett Teaching Center (370 Jane Stanford Way) on the Stanford campus. Upon arrival, please check in in the foyer of the building and follow signs for Room 200.

The closest visitor parking is in the Via Ortega Garage and along the Stanford Oval. All parking is free in spaces marked Visitor, A, or C after 4pm unless indicated otherwise. Accessible parking is also available along the Stanford Oval.

If you plan to take public transportation, some lines of the Marguerite Shuttle connect between the Palo Alto Transit Center and the campus. You can get to the Hewlett Teaching Center by taking Line P (drops off at the Stanford Oval), Line X (drops off at the ChEM-H Building on Jane Stanford Way), and Line Y (picks up across from the ChEM-H Building on Jane Stanford Way). A complete list of shuttle schedules and route maps can be found here.