UCF scientists using James Webb Space Telescope for research projects

8 researchers, 1 alumna selected out of 1,100 proposals

Noemi Pinilla-Alonso is one of eight UCF researchers and one alumna who were selected out of more than 1,100 proposals to use the James Webb Space Telescope. (UCF)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Several University of Central Florida scientists were selected to conduct research projects using NASA’s most powerful telescope ever.

The first images from the James Webb Space Telescope were released earlier this week.

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Noemi Pinilla-Alonso is one of eight UCF researchers and one alumna who were selected out of more than 1,100 proposals to use the high-tech telescope.

Pinilla-Alonso said she is studying 60 trans-Neptunian objects, which are some of the most primitive and unprocessed bodies in our solar system. She said her research will help us better understand how our solar system was formed and evolved to what it is today.

She added while these objects have been studied from Earth telescopes for years, the James Webb Space Telescope is a game changer for her research.

“We have been trying to do this for so long and we know, we are aware that we are doing that with limited information. It’s why we know James Webb is the perfect tool to do this and the moment is now,” Pinilla-Alonso said. “We have to do it and we have to finally get to know what’s on the surface of these objects.”

Pinilla-Alonso was awarded 100 hours of time to use the telescope. She said she’s expecting her study will start in September and she will continue to collect data through July.


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About the Author:

Amanda Castro, a proud UCF alum, joined the News 6 team in November 2015 and was promoted to weekend morning anchor in April 2016. Go Knights!