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Hamptons Observatory, and co-host Suffolk County Community College, are pleased to present a free, virtual lecture by Michael T. Menzel, NASA Mission Systems Engineer for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).


July 12, 2023, marks the first anniversary of the first images and the science provided by the JWST, which was launched on December 25, 2021 and is NASA’s successor mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. The JWST has been designed and developed to observe “first light” objects in the nascent universe, the evolution of galaxies over cosmic history, star birth within our own galaxy, planet formation and evolution both in our solar system and in solar systems around other stars, and to make detailed observations of some of the recently discovered exoplanets. The observatory is now well into its first year of operation, producing magnificent images and data that is already reshaping our understanding of the early universe. This presentation will provide an overview of the JWST, its system design and its challenges, as well as the telescope’s remarkable observations and data collected to date.


Michael T. Menzel received a BSc in Physics from the MIT in 1981 and an MS in Physics from Columbia University in 1986. He distinguished 42 year career included being Deputy Program Manager for the Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Group at Lockheed Martin. He began working on the pre-phase studies for the Next Generation Space Telescope in 1998 and, in June of 2004, he took his current position as the NASA Mission Systems Engineer for the JWST. Mr. Menzel was the recipient of the Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Award for
Engineering in 2009, the NASA Systems Engineering Excellence Award in 2010, the Mission Engineering and Systems Analysis Division Engineering Excellence Award in 2013, the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2013, the Robert H. Goddard Merit Award in 2020, the NASA
Distinguished Service Medal in 2022, the NASA Systems Engineering Excellence Award in 2022, the Norman L. Baker Astronautics Engineer Award in 2023, and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’s Goddard Astronautics Award in 2023. He has lectured
in Physics and Astronomy at various colleges and is an avid amateur astronomer.


Hamptons Observatory extends its deepest thanks to Mr. Menzel for generously taking the time to share his expertise, and to co-host Suffolk County Community College for its kind collaboration.


Hamptons Observatory (HO), a 501(c)(3) NYS nonprofit that relies on public support, has served the community since 2005. Its mission: to foster interest in science, particularly astronomy, through educational programs. Lectures, star parties, portable planetarium
shows and other events. HO has established the first astronomical observatory on the South Fork of Long Island (in East Hampton), complete with Long Island’s largest research-grade telescope. Hamptons Observatory offers all of its programs free-of-charge (although donations are greatly appreciated) so that everyone can learn about and enjoy the universe around them. To join our email list for news and event notices, please email [email protected].
To make a tax-deductible donation to support our mission, please visit  and click on Support Us. Thanks!