September Monthly Meeting – Witnessing the birth of planets with Australian hardware on board the JWST

Our meetings include brief business, a main presentation and items of astronomical news or learning from members.

The September Main Item will be: Witnessing the birth of planets with Australian hardware on board the James Webb Space Telescope by Dr Ben Pope.
A synopsis of Ben’s talk and a bit about him appears beloe.

The September 2023 meeting is planned to be a face-to-face meeting; attendees can also join in online via Zoom. Details emailed to members. Guests/visitors can contact us for Zoom details at .
Visitors are welcome to join our face-to-face or online meetings.

Synopsis of the main presentation.
The James Webb Space Telescope is poised to revolutionize exoplanet direct imaging. Its exquisite sensitivity, infrared wavelength coverage, and resolution are already enabling near-infrared direct imaging of exoplanets and their birth environments. The only Australian-designed hardware on the spacecraft, the Aperture Masking Instrument, enhances both the resolution and precision of high angular resolution imaging. Using a century-old technique, an array of holes in a metal plate is all that is necessary to restructure the interference pattern of light to allow exquisite self-calibration of noise – and give us a glimpse of the dusty disks around stars and the nascent planets embedded in them. I will discuss early results from our team’s Guaranteed Time Observations, challenges in detector calibration, and how new data analysis method show a way forward for JWST and other missions.

Benjamin Pope grew up in Sydney. After graduating with a Masters degree in science from the University of Sydney, he travelled to the University of California, Berkeley and then to Oxford University where he graduated with a DPhil in Astrophysics in 2017. From 2017 to 2020 he was a NASA Sagan Fellow at the NYU Centre for Cosmology and Particle Physics and Centre for Data Science. He returned to Australia in 2020 and is currently Lecturer in Astrophysics at UQ. He has an ARC DECRA Fellowship to support his research on exoplanets.



02 Sep 2023


4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Steele Building Room 03-309


Steele Building Room 03-309
Steele Building, University of Qld, St Lucia, QLD 4069

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