NASA's James Webb Space Telescope

Selections Made for the JWST Director’s Discretionary Early Release Science Program

News Feature November 13, 2017

Illustration showing JWST's science capabilities.

Following the recommendation of the Time Allocation Committee and a thorough technical review, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) Director Ken Sembach has selected 13 science programs for the JWST Director’s Discretionary Early Release Science Program (DD-ERS). It is anticipated that the DD-ERS observations will take place during the first 5 months of JWST science operations, following the 6-month commissioning period.

With a total award of 460 hours of JWST observing time, the selected programs span a wide range of science areas as well as instrument modes, such as surveys of galaxies and their nuclei, stellar clusters and star formation near and far, the chemistry of interstellar and circumstellar matter, and the characterization of exoplanets. The successful programs include 16 Principal investigators (PIs) and co-PIs from North America and 6 from Europe, with broad world-wide participation.

Additional statistics:

  • The selected programs represent participation by 253 investigators from 18 countries, 22 U.S. states, and 106 unique institutions.
  • Of the 253 investigators, 157 are based in the U.S., 84 are from ESA countries, 7 are from Canada, and 5 are from other countries (Australia and Chile), with 248 unique investigators.
  • There are an additional 456 science collaborators involved in the programs. 
  • The three largest teams have combined totals of 138, 105, and 80 investigators and collaborators.

The successful DD-ERS teams are now tasked with developing "science-enabling products," such as documentation for their programs, scientific software, and data products — all designed to help the full astronomical community maximize the science output of the JWST mission.

ID ERS Program PI & Co-PIs Category Instruments
1288 Radiative Feedback from Massive Stars as Traced by Multiband Imaging and Spectroscopic Mosaics PI: Olivier Berne (Universite Toulouse)
CoPIs: Emilie Habart (Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale) and Els Peeters (University of Western Ontario )
Stellar Physics MIRI
NIRCam
NIRSpec
1309 IceAge: Chemical Evolution of Ices during Star Formation PI: Melissa McClure (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
CoPIs: Adwin Boogert (University of Hawaii) and Harold Linnartz (Universiteit Leiden)
Stellar Physics MIRI
NIRCam
NIRSpec
1324 Through the Looking GLASS: A JWST Exploration of Galaxy Formation and Evolution from Cosmic Dawn to Present Day PI: Tommaso Treu (University of California - Los Angeles) Galaxies and the IGM NIRCam
NIRISS
NIRSpec
1328 A JWST Study of the Starburst-AGN Connection in Merging LIRGs PI: Lee Armus (California Institute of Technology) Galaxies and the IGM MIRI
NIRCam
NIRSpec
1334 The Resolved Stellar Populations Early Release Science Program PI: Daniel Weisz (University of California - Berkeley) Stellar Populations NIRCam
NIRISS
1335 Q-3D: Imaging Spectroscopy of Quasar Hosts with JWST Analyzed with a Powerful New PSF Decomposition and Spectral Analysis Package PI: Dominika Wylezalek (European Southern Observatory - Germany)
CoPIs: Sylvain Veilleux (University of Maryland) and Nadia Zakamska (Johns Hopkins University)
Massive Black Holes and their Galaxies MIRI
NIRSpec
1345 The Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science (CEERS) Survey PI: Steven Finkelstein (University of Texas at Austin) Galaxies and the IGM MIRI
NIRCam
NIRSpec
1349 Establishing Extreme Dynamic Range with JWST: Decoding Smoke Signals in the Glare of a Wolf-Rayet Binary PI: Ryan Lau (California Institute of Technology) Stellar Physics MIRI
NIRISS
1355 TEMPLATES: Targeting Extremely Magnified Panchromatic Lensed Arcs and Their Extended Star Formation PI: Jane Rigby (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
CoPI: Joaquin Vieira (University of  Illinois)
Galaxies and the IGM MIRI
NIRCam
NIRSpec
1364 Nuclear Dynamics of a Nearby Seyfert with NIRSpec Integral Field Spectroscopy PI: Misty Bentz (Georgia State University Research Foundation) Massive Black Holes and their Galaxies NIRSpec
1366 The Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science Program PI: Natalie Batalha (NASA Ames Research Center)
CoPIs: Jacob Bean (University of Chicago) and Kevin Stevenson (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Planets and Planet Formation MIRI
NIRCam
NIRISS
NIRSpec
1373 ERS observations of the Jovian System as a Demonstration of JWST’s Capabilities for Solar System Science PI: Imke de Pater (University of California - Berkeley) Solar System MIRI
NIRCam
NIRISS
NIRSpec
1386 High Contrast Imaging of Exoplanets and Exoplanetary Systems with JWST PI: Sasha Hinkley (University of Exeter)
CoPIs: Andrew Skemer (University of California - Santa Cruz) and Beth Biller (University of Edinburgh)
Planets and Planet Formation MIRI
NIRCam
NIRISS
NIRSpec