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Joseph M. Howard, Ph.D.

Dr. Joseph M. Howard

Lead Optical Designer, James Webb Space Telescope
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Greenbelt MD 20771
United States

tel: 301 286 0690
fax: 301 286 0204
E-mail: Joseph.M.Howard@nasa.gov

Area of Expertise

Unobstructed reflective optic systems, freeform optics


Joseph M. Howard received his Ph.D. in Optics at The Institute of Optics, University of Rochester, and is NASA federal employee at Goddard Space Flight Center. He currently serves as lead optical designer for the James Webb Space Telescope, an orbiting infrared observatory that will take the place of the Hubble Space Telescope. Joe is a lifetime member of SPIE, and was recently promoted to SPIE Fellow status (2016). He lives with his wife and two children in Washington DC.

Lecture Title(s)

Optical Design and Education Using Graphical Slider Tools

Optical design tools are presented to provide automatic generation of reflective optical systems for educational use. The tools are graphical in nature and use an interactive slider interface with freely available optical design software. Operation of the sliders provides input to adjust first-order and other system parameters (e.g. focal length), while appropriate system construction parameters are automatically updated to correct aberrations. Graphical output is also presented in real-time (e.g. a lens drawing) to provide the opportunity for a truly visual approach to optical design. Available systems include two- and three- mirror telescopes, relays, and afocal systems, either rotationally symmetric or having just a plane of symmetry. Demonstrations are presented.

Future Telescopes for Astronomy

This talk summarizes current and future concepts for astronomical telescopes. Ground based telescopes such as the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) and Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) are discussed, as well as spaced-based observatories such as Hubble Space Telescope (HST), James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), and the Herschel Observatory.

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