Seizing the “Apollo moment”: Notre Dame scientists among the first to experiment with the James Webb Space Telescope

Author: Deanna Csomo Ferrell

“Apollo moment”

During the last week of November 2020, with the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic raging and finals week underway at the University of Notre Dame, Christopher Howk, professor of physics, decided to hole up in a cabin and churn out a proposal to do research using the most highly anticipated astronomical tool in a quarter century.

The proposal involved using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to study how galactic dust and gas is expelled from the plane of a disk galaxy similar to the Milky Way. If his proposal were to be accepted, he, along with Research Professor Nicolas Lehner and other collaborators, would be among the first astrophysicists to use the space-based infrared telescope as an aid to learn how our universe formed.

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