Wed, Feb 16, 2022

Studying the Next Interstellar Interloper with Webb

Webb's spectroscopic capabilities in both the near-infrared and mid-infrared bands are used to study two different aspects of the interstellar object. First, using the Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec), they will analyze the chemical fingerprints of gases released by the object as any ices that might be present are vaporized by our Sun's heat. Second, with the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI), they will observe any dust that the object is producing — small, microscopic particles; larger grains; and even pebbles that may be lifted off the surface and surrounding the object.