Texas State physicist to use James Webb Space Telescope to study water delivery to exoplanets

Research & Innovation

Jayme Blaschke | January 21, 2022

james webb space telescope
James Webb Space Telescope
banzatti headshot
Andrea Banzatti

Andrea Banzatti, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at Texas State University, has been awarded prestigious observatory time on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

JWST is NASA's new flagship infrared telescope designed to study exoplanets and distant galaxies. The telescope was successfully launched Dec. 25, 2021, and is now on its way to the L2 Lagrangian point where it will start science observations after the testing and commissioning of all instruments.

The award will provide funding and 19 hours of JWST observation time during the first cycle of observations in the summer of 2022 for Banzatti's research program, "The infrared water spectrum as a tracer of pebble delivery to rocky planets."

Banzatti's research team, which includes postdoctoral researcher Anusha Kalyaan and several Texas State students, will use infrared spectra to study how water and other molecules are delivered to exoplanets that are forming around other stars, to understand the chemical makeup of other planetary systems and how conditions for life may develop elsewhere in the universe.

For more information, visit www.jwst.nasa.gov/index.html.

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For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922