It’s been 500 years since the first circumnavigation of the globe, and few could have predicted then that we would see detailed images of stars, galaxies, and exoplanets like the ones produced by the James Webb Space Telescope this year.
On today’s episode of The Oxford Comment, we’re looking at what these recent discoveries mean to our understanding of the universe. Why should we all know about distant galaxies? How will this learning impact us? And what role will artificial intelligence and machine-learning play in the wider astronomy field in the coming years?
The questions are big, the area is even bigger, and we are delighted to be joined by two eminent fellows from the Royal Astronomical Society to review this expansive subject.
First, we welcome Claudia Maraston, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Portsmouth, and an expert in theoretical astrophysics, in particular the calculation of theoretical spectra for stellar populations. She also sits on the editorial board of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Our second guest is Jonathan Tennyson, Massey Professor of Physics at University College London, whose research specialises in the accurate quantum mechanical treatments of both the spectroscopy and collision properties of small molecules, with an emphasis on the provision of data for other research areas. Jonathan is also Editor-in-Chief of the Open Access Royal Astronomical Society Techniques & Instruments.
Check out Episode 78 of The Oxford Comment and subscribe to The Oxford Comment podcast through your favourite podcast app to listen to the latest insights from our expert authors.
To learn more about the themes raised in this podcast, we’re pleased to share a selection chapters and articles.
If you would like to find out more about recent discoveries in observational astronomy, why not start with a title in our Very Short Introductions series, Observational Astronomy: A Very Short Introduction by Geoff Cottrell?
You may also be interested in Astronomy: The Human Quest for Understanding by Dale A. Ostlie which looks at how science operates practically in relation to astronomy, leading the reader down a path to our present-day understanding of our Solar System, stars, galaxies, and more.
If you’re interested in the role ordinary people taking part in cutting-edge science and what humans can bring to interpreting big data which smart machines can’t, The Crowd and the Cosmos: Adventures in the Zooniverse by Chris Lintott highlights that, “You, too, can help explore the Universe in your lunch hour.”
Numerous articles written and co-written by our guests Claudia Maraston and Jonathan Tennyson can be found in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Tennyson also co-wrote this introductory article to RAS Techniques and Instruments earlier this year.
Discover more about the James Webb Telescope on Oxford Academic through our range of journal articles, many of which are Open Access. This range includes Royal Astronomical Society articles such as the following:
- “Hiding in plain sight: observing planet-starspot crossings with the James Webb Space Telescope” by Giovanni Bruno et al
- “Conditions for detecting lensed Population III galaxies in blind surveys with the James Webb Space Telescope, the Roman Space Telescope, and Euclid” [Open Access] by Anton Vikaeus et al.
Featured image: “NASA’s Webb Reveals Cosmic Cliffs, Glittering Landscape of Star Birth,” July 2022. NASA/ESA/CSA, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.