Professor Anand Sivaramakrishnan
7:30 pm Room 001 ESS Building
Friday, January 20, 2012

Finding Planets Around Bright Stars

JWST - the James Webb Space Telescope - has a mirror made of 18 different reflectors. Once assembled in space, it spans 21 feet, but JWST's primary mirror is actually folded up into a package for launch. How on earth do we plan to unfold it, align it, and start using it? I will describe how we address this huge challenge, and present two key scientific areas JWST targets: measuring the colors of planets around distant stars, and probing close to supermassive black holes that fuel active galaxies' central engines

Prof. Anand Sivaramakrishnan has worked on developing specialized astronomical instruments that observe very faint objects very close to bright stars. He lived in Huntington for several years, and is now based in Baltimore, at the Space Telescope Science Institute (which runs the Hubble). He has been involved in building JWST for the last decade.