PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — In July, as the world marveled at the first images of the Cosmic Cliffs and previously invisible areas of star birth revealed by the James Webb Space Telescope, Allen Dufort felt excited that he’d soon make his own contributions to space exploration.
As a software engineer intern for Brown University Professor of Physics Gregory Tucker, Dufort has spent Summer 2022 writing computer code for components of a telescope that a team from Brown is helping to build, thanks to a grant from NASA.
Among the components being developed at Brown is a cryogenic system for the instrument’s spectrometer. Interference generated by the optics inside the spectrometer itself could obscure the signals that the researchers are trying to detect. By cooling the optics down, Dufort explained, the team can minimize that interference.
“It’s basically like a freezer for the telescope, so it doesn’t get too warm,” Dufort said. “We’re working on the code to make sure it can communicate with other parts of the telescope, to send messages to the cooler and back.”