January 4, 2018 / Modified jan 9, 2018 1:39 p.m.

Episode 112: Studying the Shapes and Colors of Distant Galaxies

NIRCam will study infrared light and help astronomers learn the age of stars in nearby galaxies

NIRCAM AZSCI NIRCam will study infrared light and help astronomers learn the age of stars in nearby galaxies. (PHOTO: NASA/Goddard/Chris Gunn)

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Marcia Rieke is the principal investigator for the near-infrared camera called NIRCam which is attached to the James Webb Space Telescope. NIRCam will study infrared light and help astronomers learn the age of stars in nearby galaxies. Because the universe is expanding, light from the earliest galaxies has been stretched or “redshifted” from visible light to infrared light. Humans can’t see infrared light, but can perceive it as heat. NIRCam will be able to visualize infrared light, making it essential to examining the early phases of star and galaxy formations, and studying the shapes and colors of distant galaxies. The launch date for NIRCAm is scheduled for the Spring of 2019.

In this episode:

Marcia Rieke, Regents’ Professor in Astronomy at the UA
Tim Swindle, Ph.D., Director and Head of the UA's Lunar and Planetary Lab

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