Two Keralites in NASA team decoding James Webb Space Telescope images

Jessy Jose (right) and Manoj Puravankara (left). Photo: Manorama Online.

Kozhikode: Two Keralite astronomers are part of the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) team that would observe the pictures captured by the James Webb Space Telescope, which is unravelling the dark secrets of the universe through a series of spectacular never-before-seen images.

Manoj Puravankara, a native of Kozhikode, and Jessy Jose from Muvattupuzha are the two members of James Webb’s team of observers.

Manoj’s team is to study the young stars and their physical properties including temperature, mass and composition, while Jessy Jose is a part of the team studying the galactic Centre Cloud which may reveal more about the star formation.

Manoj and Jessy have been chosen from about 2,000 applications NASA received expressing willingness to study the information from James Webb.

Manoj Puravankara, an astronomer with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, is the son of T Padmanabhan Nambiar who retired from the Postal department and Nalini Nambiar who retired from the Telephones department. Manoj had associated with NASA’s Space Research project from 2007 through 2012. His wife, Preethi Gharbh, a native of Delhi, is a researcher with the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, Pune.

Astrophysicist Jessy Jose, assistant professor with the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Tirupati, is the daughter of retired teacher K J Joseph and Chinnamma Joseph of Randattinkara Vellankal, in Moovattupuzha.

Jessy did her post-graduation in Physics from Christ College, Bangaluru, after her degree course in Nirmala College, Muvattupuzha. In 2012, Jessy secured her PhD from Aryabhatta Research Institute in Nainital. Thereafter, she also got a post-doctoral fellowship in astronomy and astrophysics from an institute in Beijing, China.

Jessy's husband Lijo George, a native of Vazhakulam near Muvattupuzha, works as an IT officer in Bengaluru. Their daughter Serin George is a student in Bengaluru.

The $10 billion James Webb Space Telescope is NASA's largest and most capable space science telescope. The revolutionary telescope is also known as Webb or JWST. Its four different instruments can combine to collect data in 17 different modes. NASA released the first scientific quality images from the telescope on July 12.

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