The ESA project scientist for Hubble and Webb is Antonella Nota. As – to put it casually – European chief astronomer of the two, she works at the Institute of Space Telescopes in Baltimore, USA.
She plans the scientific projects and tries to involve the experts in Europe as much as possible.
She herself explores young, massive star clusters. Antonella Nota has observed with Hubble how these stars form and develop.
In the future, she hopes for even better data with the James Webb telescope – because that sees even more sharply and also works in the infrared radiation range. This makes it particularly easy to study star clusters that are formed.
The James Webb Telescope is scheduled to launch into space with an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou at the end of the year (ESA / Arianespace)
However, even a project scientist does not get any observation time for free. Antonella Nota has to apply just like her colleagues.
During her studies in Padua, hardly anyone would have believed that she is Europe’s representative for the two most important telescopes. In a recent conversation, she recalled that initially women were not even allowed to enter the university observatory – because the men feared they would break the instruments.
A few years later, the supposed destroyer of telescopes became Europe’s boss of the most valuable telescopes of all.