Edmonds Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

By Peter Kelley
For the Beacon 

Is there life out there?

Edmonds astronomer Eric Agol plans research with James Webb Space Telescope


Last updated 4/14/2022 at 10:46am


University of Washington astronomer Eric Agol, who lives in Edmonds, studies planets orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1, about 40 light-years away with seven known Earth-like planets. The new James Webb Space Telescope, launched on Christmas Day, will enhance research looking to find and study possible atmospheres of these worlds.

When a massive Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from French Guiana carrying the James Webb Space Telescope – the most powerful and promising observational tool yet – astronomer Eric Agol watched from his Edmonds home, where he and his family have lived since 2005.

After all, it was Christmas Day.

Agol, 51, is a professor of astronomy at the University of Washington and one of thousands of researchers worldwide whose work stands to be enhanced by the new space-based telescope.

"I was extremely nervous given the laundry list of things that could go wrong," Agol said of the launch. "It was qui...

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