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Astronomer Heidi Hammel Talks Telescopes At Westport Library

Planetary astronomer Heidi Hammel will speak about the exploration of the universe Dec. 15 at the Westport Library.
Planetary astronomer Heidi Hammel will speak about the exploration of the universe Dec. 15 at the Westport Library. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls at Wikipedia

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Planetary astronomer Heidi Hammel will speak about the exploration of the universe with the state-of-the-art James Webb Space Telescope at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Westport Library’s McManus Room.

The free program, offered in partnership with the Rolnick Observatory and the Westport Astronomical Society, is suitable for all ages.

The telescope is next in line of NASA’s great observatories, a scientific successor to both the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes; it's scheduled for launch in 2018. It will see the first galaxies to form in the universe and explore how stars are born and give rise to planetary systems. Additionally, it will study exoplanets, those beyond Earth’s solar system, investigating their potential for life.

The telescope is optimized to detect infrared light, using a segmented mirror more than 6 meters in diameter and operating a million miles away in the cold, dark environment of Earth’s Lagrange 2 point. It will carry four science instruments covering wavelengths from 0.6 to 28 microns.

Hammel , a planetary astronomer and executive vice president of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, will review the telescope's scientific objectives, as well its hardware and technology development. She will show pictures of how NASA builds such a machine, as well as simulations of expected results.

For further information, phone 203-291-4800 or check westportlibrary.org .

The Westport Library is at 20 Jesup Road, Westport.

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