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The James Webb Space Telescope: Revealing the Early Universe

With Dan Coe '07 (Ph.D.) |

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Featuring 2023 Johns Hopkins Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient Dan Coe '07 (PhD)

With the Hubble Space Telescope, we have looked back in time and witnessed a rich diversity of galaxies growing, merging, and taking shape over 13 billion years of cosmic history. But the most distant galaxies in the early universe are too small and faint to study in detail with Hubble, leaving us with many questions. When did the first stars and galaxies form? Did any early galaxies look like our Milky Way? And what were they made of?

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is beginning to answer these questions and pose new ones. In only its second year of operation, JWST has already taken a giant leap towards discovering the first stars. Dan Coe '07, a recipient of the 2023 JHU Distinguished Alumnus Award, will discuss how scientists at the Space Telescope Science Institute made observations using gravitational lensing that reveal individual stars including Earendel observed 13 billion years ago, observed star clusters dating back to even earlier times in the Cosmic Gems Arc, and used spectroscopy to reveal heavy elements created by stars less than 400 million years after the Big Bang.

The conversation will be moderated by NASA Thermal Engineer Emily Maheras, WSE '23 (MA).

Disclaimer: The perspectives and opinions expressed by the speaker(s) during this program are those of the speaker(s) and not, necessarily, those of Johns Hopkins University and the scheduling of any speaker at an alumni event or program does not constitute the University’s endorsement of the speaker’s perspectives and opinions.
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About Dan Coe '07 (Ph.D.)expand


Dan Coe '07 (Ph.D.)

Dan Coe is an ESA/AURA Astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and Associate Research Scientist in the Center for Astrophysical Sciences at the Johns Hopkins William H. Miller Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dan graduated from Cornell University and then obtained his PhD from Johns Hopkins in 2007. At JHU, he was a member of the Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys GTO team. Dan then did postdocs at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and STScI before joining the STScI staff in 2013. Located on the JHU campus, STScI runs science operations and user support for the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes. Dan has led observing programs with both Hubble and JWST, discovering and studying distant galaxies observed in the early universe magnified by gravitational lensing. He currently leads the JWST team Cosmic Spring. As an Instrument Scientist at STScI, Dan has supported other astronomers using Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and JWST's NIRCam and NIRSpec instruments.