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Cosmic Origins Program Analysis Group (COPAG)

SAG #9: Science Enabled by Spitzer Observations Prior to JWST Launch

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is scheduled for launch in October 2018, with science operations commencing in mid 2019. The Spitzer Space Telescope is presently expected to continue operations through 2015, but is not expected to still be operational at the time that JWST begins science observations. Much of the science conducted with JWST will build off of existing Spitzer data and science results. Spitzer has now entered the 6th year of its Warm Mission, which enables imaging with the IRAC two shortest wavelengths, 3.6 and 4.5 micron, at ~1.9" resolution, over a 5' x 5' field of view. These capabilities still offer unique science opportunities, and it is expected that the astronomical community will have compelling ideas for Cosmic Origins investigations with JWST, that will require Spitzer precursor observations.

This Science Analysis Group (SAG #9) will engage the astronomical community, the Spitzer User's Committee, and JWST Science Working Group in identifying compelling science to be done with JWST, that is enabled by or that benefits from large blocks of Spitzer observing time prior to JWST launch. Science areas to explore include, but are not limited to:

  1. extrasolar planets and planetary systems
  2. the properties and structure of the Milky Way and its components
  3. nearby galaxies
  4. galaxy evolution and cosmology.

Within each of these science areas, the unique contributions that the Spitzer capabilities can offer will be considered, also in light of past and recent results.

The SAG will also analyze the results of SAG #7 (Science enabled by operations overlap of HST/JWST) to determine whether the science cases identified by SAG #7 would benefit from new Spitzer observations.

The SAG will document its findings in a report to the Astrophysics Subcommittee.

Hubble News from AAS 240!

With the help of Hubble, astronomers observed a white dwarf star ripping up planets. Read more: Press Release.

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