At 5 p.m. EDT (4 p.m. CDT), President Biden will be releasing the first image from the James Webb Space Telescope. The next day, NASA, in partnership with the European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency, will release more full-color images during a televised broadcast beginning at 10:30 a.m. EDT (9:30 a.m. CDT), Tuesday, July 12. This will be followed by a media briefing with NASA and its partners and then live interview opportunities with James Webb mission experts.
NASA has promised that the effects of the James Webb space telescope will be historic; its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, was active for thirty years and drastically changed the way we looked at the universe. The Webb telescope is approximately 100 times more powerful, and scientists are extremely pleased with the results they’ve gotten so far.
Arkansas has been lucky to have a share in making this historic moment possible: Dr. Amber Straughn is an Arkansas-born-and-raised astrophysicist, as well as a farm girl from the tiny town of Bee Branch, and now a central member of the team for the Webb project. With a population of less than 300 according to the 2020 census, it would be dwarfed by the student population of Little Rock’s Central High School, not to mention the University of Arkansas which she later attended. She’s gone from gazing at a night sky free of light pollution to helping with one of the most important space missions in history, which will allow us to see the earliest days of the universe.
In a quote from this morning, Straughn said, “I’m so excited we’re finally here! We have demonstrated that this incredible telescope works even better than we expected, and the future of astronomy is bright. I’m so grateful to be part of this team. This is a telescope for the whole world.”
She is currently serving as deputy project scientist for communications, meaning that she has done a great deal of public speaking about this project and she will be one of the participants at tomorrow’s media briefing.
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