Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Southern Highlands Branch Meeting 2024-3

Professor Fred Watson “Webb’s wondrous window on the Universe”

Professor Fred Watson AM

Australian Government

Date: Thursday, 18 April, 6.30 pm AEDT 
Venue: RSL Mittagong, Carrington Room
All are welcome

Summary: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has been fully operational since July 2022. Its first science images made global headlines with their breathtaking clarity and depth, showing cosmic detail that was only hinted at by its smaller cousin, the ageing Hubble Space Telescope. They foretold a game-changing career of discovery that is now being realised with findings that challenge our understanding of the Universe’s deepest mysteries. In this entertaining and copiously illustrated talk, Australia’s Astronomer-at-Large describes the Webb, its images, its mission and its relationship to other upcoming facilities like the Square Kilometre Array and Europe's Extremely Large Telescope. Not to be missed!

Fred Watson AM is the Australian Government’s Astronomer-at-Large, an outreach, advocacy, and advisory role created in 2018 in the Department of Industry, Science and Resources. Educated in Scotland at the universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Fred worked at both of Britain’s Royal Observatories before joining the Australian Astronomical Observatory as Astronomer-in-Charge in 1995. Today, he is best known for his award-winning radio and TV broadcasts, books, music, dark-sky advocacy, and the Space Nuts podcast. His work also includes providing expert input to the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in Vienna on the issue of satellite constellation interference in astronomy. Fred has an asteroid named after him (5691 Fredwatson) but says that if it hits the Earth, it won't be his fault.

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