ASTR 220
New Discoveries with the James Webb Space Telescope Spring 2025
Division III

Class Details

Launched in December 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has delivered new views of the universe and is reshaping our understanding of our solar system, planets around other stars, star formation, and galaxies in the early universe. The beautifully detailed images have also generated intense public interest and are often the subject of science articles in the news. Through JWST’s new observations, this course will explore both cutting-edge astronomical science and science communication. We will focus on open questions in each of JWST’s four themes: Other Worlds, Star Lifecycle, Galaxies Over Time, and Early Universe. We will discuss the science behind these questions, recent discoveries, and how astronomers are using JWST to learn more. We will also learn about astronomical observations, how JWST works, and how astronomers collect and evaluate scientific evidence. Students will discuss how discoveries are communicated to the public, analyze stories in popular media, and create their own versions of public astronomy communications.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 20
Expected: 12
Class#: 3610
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly homework questions and short writing assignments, class participation, mid-term written article, and final project
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Astronomy/Astrophysics majors and prospective majors, sophomores
Unit Notes: non-major course
Distributions: Division III

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