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On Feb 20 - 21, 2020, the Arecibo Observatory hosted a workshop to train Puerto Rican astronomers on the software needed to apply for time using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is expected to launch in March 2021.
This workshop was a result of a team proposal submitted by a group of 14 scientists at the University of Central Florida, led by Dr. Estela Fernández-Valenzuela, a postdoctoral researcher at the Florida Space Institute (FSI). It was selected by the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) with the goal to “create a cohort of scientists to help one another propose for time using the JWST effectively and increase access to training resources for the entire astronomical community.”
The JWST is an orbiting infrared observatory built to help us better understand the early Universe and our origins by facilitating the study of the formation of galaxies, stars and planets, and the evolution of our own Solar System.
Dr. Fernández-Valenzuela attended a Master Class training session hosted by STScI along with other selected scientists. Their goal was not only to learn about the different JWST observing modes and how to efficiently use the observation planning software tools but also to become proficient enough with those tools so that they could then teach what they learned to the broader astronomical community. The Master Class effectively trained the trainees to become trainers.
Following the Master Class, Dr. Fernández-Valenzuela and Dr. Francisco Parra Rojas, from the Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico, then hosted a training workshop at the Arecibo Observatory to teach a new set of attendees the different planning tools required to apply for observing time with JWST.
Dr. Fernández-Valenzuela said that through this workshop, she is “glad to enable future generations of scientists in Puerto Rico to advance scientific knowledge by using JWST.”
“I am glad to enable future generations of scientists in Puerto Rico to advance scientific knowledge by using JWST.”- Dr. Fernández-Valenzuela, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Florida Space Institute (FSI)
Scientists from different universities across the island, including the Inter-American University of Bayamón and the University of Puerto Rico, attended the workshop. The attendees are eager to use one of the most powerful telescopes ever built to advance their science and further explore the universe.
Article written by Dr. Tracy Becker - AO Collaborator / SwRI Research Scientist
Keywords: arecibo, observatory, Fernandez, JWST, master, class, workshop, james, webb, telescope, Space, , Science, Institute, Florida, UCF, university, central , florida