On Friday September 2, Chalmers astronomer Per Bjerkeli and his international colleagues direct the new space-based James Webb telescope, for five hours, starting at 15:52. The sights are set on a young solar system that can provide insight into what our own solar system once looked like.
“I am so looking forward to Friday night, knowing that the world's coolest telescope is looking at exactly what I want it to look at”, says Per Bjerkeli.
Per and his colleagues in Taiwan, the USA, Denmark and Poland applied last year for James Webb to study their favorite object, the star system TMC1A, in the constellation Taurus, 450 light years away. It's a young solar system, estimated to be only 100,000 years old, which can tell us about how our own solar system once formed.
"We cannot go back in time and see how our solar system was created, but something that is almost as good is to look at solar systems that are similar to ours and that are forming right now”, says Per Bjerkeli.
The researchers have been studying the system for several years, with several telescopes, among them the giant telescope ALMA in Chile. Now they hope to get an even better understanding of it, when the James Webb telescope will observe the system in infrared light, longer wavelengths than are visible to the eye.
“Young solar systems like TMC1A send large amounts of gas into space. We are interested in which molecules and atoms that gas contains, to understand more about how and why it is sent into space”, says Per and continues:
“Around the star is a disk of gas and dust, which are the building blocks of planets. We are very curious to see how far the planet formation has come, as it can give us a better picture of how the planets in our own solar system were formed”.
After the observation is completed on Friday, a large amount of data will be sent from the telescope to Earth, and Per Bjerkeli and colleagues can begin their work on the analysis.
Previous studies of the system and the material leaving the system have been published in the articles: