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The James Webb Space Telescope will allow astronomers to peer into the atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars in unprecedented detail. This new great observatory has already confirmed its first exoplanet and identified the presence of photochemistry on an alien world, but these discoveries are just beginning. We have never been closer to probing the atmospheric composition of rocky planets like Earth, which could potentially host habitable conditions and even life. This talk will provide an overview of recent exoplanet discoveries by the James Webb Space Telescope and the near and intermediate term efforts by astronomers and astrobiologists to locate and characterize potentially habitable worlds.


Speaker Edward (Eddie) Schwieterman is an Assistant Professor of Astrobiology in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California-Riverside. He holds B.S. degrees in Physics and Astrophysics from the Florida Institute of Technology, an M.S. in Astronomy from the University of Washington, and a dual PhD in Astronomy and Astrobiology from the University of Washington. His research interests include astrobiology, exoplanets, planetary atmospheres, planetary habitability, and the early Earth. He is particularly focused on research that can inform our ability to characterize Earth-sized planets in the habitable zones of their host stars, especially in search of remotely detectable biosignatures.

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  • Maggie Downs
  • Alyssa

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