Research projects

UCF scientists using the James Webb Space Telescope for research projects

ORLANDO, Florida. – Several scientists from the University of Central Florida have been selected to conduct research projects using the most powerful telescope ever designed by NASA.

The first images from the James Webb Space Telescope were released earlier this week.

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Noemi Pinilla-Alonso is one of eight UCF researchers and an alumnus who were selected from more than 1,100 proposals to use the high-tech telescope.

Pinilla-Alonso said she is studying 60 trans-Neptunian objects, which are among the most primitive and unprocessed bodies in our solar system. She said her research will help us better understand how our solar system formed and evolved into what it is today.

She added that while these objects have been studied from ground-based telescopes for years, the James Webb Space Telescope is a game-changer for her research.

“We’ve been trying to do this for so long and we know, we’re aware that we’re doing this with limited information. That’s why we know James Webb is the perfect tool to do it and now is the time,” Pinilla-Alonso said. “We have to do this and we finally have to know what is on the surface of these objects.”

Pinilla-Alonso was given 100 hours of time to use the telescope. She said she expects her study to begin in September and will continue collecting data until July.

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