The observer general ‘s scientific observations of NASA/ ESA / CSA James Web Space Telescopethe first year of employment has been selected. Proposals from ESA member countries account for 33% of the total number of selected proposals and correspond to 30% of the time available for a telescope on the Webb.
NASA / ESA / CSA’s James Webb Space Telescope will be the world’s leading space science observatory when it launches later this year. The Web will unravel the mysteries of our solar system, explore distant worlds around other stars, and explore the mysterious structures and origins of our universe. Webb is an international program run by NASA with its partners, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
Webb mission officials have announced the selection of General Observer programs for the telescope’s first year, known as Cycle 1. These specific programs will give the astronomical community around the world their first broad opportunity to explore scientific goals with Webb. The selected proposals focus on a wide variety of scientific fields and will help fulfill ESA’s core mission of validating our understanding of the universe and our place in it.
The total monitoring time with Webb is extremely competitive. As a result, the selection process is rigorous. The members of the astronomical community were divided into various panels covering broad scientific topics. Of these, 52 were from ESA member countries. The panels met virtually, thanks to COVID-19 pandemic, for three weeks and members spent countless extra hours reading and evaluating the proposals.
A total of 1172 proposals were received before the deadline. Scientists from 44 countries applied for part of the 6,000 hours provided for observation. This represents about two-thirds of all Cycle 1 observation time, the rest of which is allocated to Early Release and Guaranteed Time (GTO) science programs. Of the 266 selected monitoring proposals, 33% are from ESA Member States, corresponding to 30% of the telescope’s available time on the Webb in the first cycle. In addition, of the selected proposals, 41% will mainly use Webb’s NIRSpec tool and 28% will mainly use MIRI’s tool.
“We are celebrating a very successful partnership between the European Space Agency and our colleagues from NASA and CSA. We look forward to the beautiful images and spectra and the incredible discoveries that Webb will make in this first year of observations, ”said Günther Hassinger, ESA’s Director of Science.
“At ESA, we are excited to see the great commitment and fantastic success of the European astronomical community in gaining valuable time to observe this extraordinary mission, the James Webb Space Telescope,” said Antonella Nota, Head of ESA’s Space Telescope Office. Scientific Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, USA.
ESA has provided two tools for the James Webb Space Telescope mission. This includes the entire NIRSpec instrument, a near-infrared spectrograph that will allow large-scale spectroscopic studies of astronomical objects such as stars or distant galaxies. ESA also has a 50% stake in the MIRI instrument, the only instrument in the telescope that is capable of operating in mid-infrared wavelengths. The telescope will launch on an Ariane 5 rocket from the European spaceport in French Guiana.
The full list of General Observer programs is available here.