UTSA professor studying images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

Astrophysics professor Chris Packham is one of select few given access

SAN ANTONIO – University of Texas at San Antonio Professor of Astrophysics Chris Packham is one of the select few given access to NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope for research and is including his students every step of the way.

The telescope has captured hours of incredible images of the universe, from new stars, galaxies and planets.

“My students will help to look at the data. They will process it using advanced computer programming and they will work with the team which is based from Japan to Alaska and many places in between to understand what’s going on in the centers of these galaxies,” Packham said.

Packham is co-leading a team of international scientists. They have been given access to more than 50 hours on the telescope to collect data for research.

“To me the amazing thing is this stellar nursery. Hundreds of new stars are being born here. Some might have planets around them. That’s incredible,” Packham said.

The team will be looking into black holes, which is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out. Results of the study will be published in science journals.

“What we want to do is work and show this wonderful work off to the community,” Packham said.

Packham said the work is only the beginning.

“There’s certainly a possibility of life out there. Many of us think it’s very likely there’s life out there. We certainly haven’t proven it yet, but James Webb gets us one step closer to being able to make that proof,” Packham said.

About the Author

Tiffany Huertas is a reporter for KSAT 12 known for her in-depth storytelling and her involvement with the community.

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