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HomeEventsDrexel’s 2024 Kaczmarczik Lecture: James Webb Telescope and Dawn of a New Era in Astronomy

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Drexel’s 2024 Kaczmarczik Lecture: James Webb Telescope and Dawn of a New Era in Astronomy

Thursday, March 7, 2024, 1:00 PM until 2:30 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada) (UTC-05:00)
Main Auditorium, Drexel University Main Building
3141 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA  19103
Additional Info:
Non-DVAA Event
Registration is required
Payment In Full In Advance Only

We are in an extraordinary era of astronomy. There exists a suite of current and upcoming facilities that are designed to study the universe across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. The James Webb Space Telescope, or JWST for short, is a particularly revolutionary observatory. JWST successfully launched in late 2021 and is the premier space-based facility for near- and mid-infrared astronomy.  The 6.5-meter space telescope is specifically equipped with four state-of-the-art instruments that include capabilities for imaging, spectroscopy, and coronagraphy. Thanks to these powerful capabilities, JWST is providing unprecedented sensitivity and enabling detailed studies of planets in the Solar System to distant exoplanets around cool stars to regions where stars are forming and dying. JWST’s capabilities extend even further, ranging out to study galaxies near and far, getting closer than ever to the era after the Big Bang.

Guest lecturer, Dr. Knicole Colón will discuss the latest status of JWST and will highlight key science results obtained within its first years of science operations. The results from JWST are already re-writing textbooks, and we expect that will continue for years to come.

Dr. Knicole Colón is an Astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. She is the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Deputy Project Scientist for Exoplanet Science, and the Project Scientist for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and Pandora SmallSat missions. She uses optical and infrared telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, JWST, and TESS, to study “extreme” exoplanets that are unlike any planets in our solar system. Her goal is to learn about the composition of their atmospheres and gain insight into how they formed and evolved.

Colón received her B.S. in Physics (with a minor in Mathematics) from The College of New Jersey in 2007, where she held a National Hispanic Merit Scholarship. She then obtained her Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Florida in 2012. During graduate school, she was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and became a Young Explorer of the National Geographic Society. Since joining NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in 2017, Colón has received a NASA Group Achievement Award for her role in an Astrophysics Large Mission Study Team, a NASA Silver Achievement Medal and a NASA Group Achievement Award for her role in the TESS mission, a NASA Group Achievement Award for her role in the JWST mission, a NASA Group Achievement Award for her role in the NASA Exoplanet Explorers team, and a NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for her research on the extremely inflated exoplanet known as KELT-11b.