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First research projects on new space telescope has UT astronomers leading the way

Ph.D. Student Thomas Lai is leading an international team of 10 other researchers on a project...
Ph.D. Student Thomas Lai is leading an international team of 10 other researchers on a project with the James Webb Space Telescope.(University of Toledo)
Published: May. 4, 2021 at 12:29 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Some of the first research projects on the James Webb Space Telescope will have astronomers from the University of Toledo leading the way.

Five of the first research projects on the new infrared telescope will be led by UT astronomers. One of the projects is led by a UT graduate student. The telescope is scheduled to launch in October.

Students lead 8.7% of selected proposals, according to the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Ph.D. Student Thomas Lai, who is scheduled to graduate in May with a doctorate in physics and astronomy, is leading an international team of 10 other researchers on a project titled “How Do the Small Survive.” They will observe a galaxy called II Zw 40 that is roughly 33 million light years away from Earth and hosts one of the most intensive star-forming regions in the local universe.

There were more than 1,000 submitted proposals, with 286 selected by NASA. UT is sixth among all institutions worldwide in terms of successful proposals for the first cycle of the James Webb Space Telescope, which will begin observing the universe after it unfolds in 2022.

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