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Blue Nebula

On the road to Habitable Worlds: UV Science & Technology today to make NASA’s next flagship possible

Event Type
Department of Astronomy
134 Astronomy Building
wifi event
Mar 19, 2024   3:45 - 4:45 pm  
Keri Hoadley
Daniel Franco
Originating Calendar
Astronomy Colloquium Speaker Calendar

Over the next few decades, NASA will take on its most ambitious project in astrophysics to date: to find signs of life on worlds orbiting other stars. The Astro2020 Decadal Survey recommended a large, 6-meter diameter infrared/optical/ultraviolet (IR/O/UV) space telescope to do just that. Alongside this revolutionary objective, this IR/O/UV space observatory, now known as the Habitable Worlds Observatory (HabWorlds), is set to make transformative, ground-breaking discoveries and answer questions we have yet to poise. A key part of this mission is its UV capabilities- yet, we are in danger of losing this necessary wavelength coverage on HabWorlds before we even enter significant design trades and considerations for the all-purpose Great Observatory. 

In this talk, I will discuss the importance of UV light in shaping our universe. I will talk about key science to HabWorlds and ways that we can advance our knowledge now using UV observations to prepare for the science to be done with HabWorlds. I will also discuss ways that the community is working to ensure that UV capabilities remain and nearer-term space telescopes that can both do transformative science ahead of HabWorlds and demonstrate the spaceflight readiness of key HabWorlds hardware (like UV-sensitive mirrors and cameras).

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