From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope: “ESA/Hubble/JWST Science Newsletter”

NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

From NASA/ESA Hubble Telescope

22 June 2020
Antonella Nota
ESA/HST & ESA/JWST Project Scientist, STScI
Baltimore, USA

Hubble zooms in for an up-close look at star assembly in one of the galaxies orbiting the Milky Way.NASA, ESA and STScI
The Past and the Future

The Hubble Space Telescope just turned 30, and it’s working better than ever.

After the last of the activities prepared for the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope was finally completed, we all collectively paused for a moment. We took a deep breath and marveled at what a day 24 April had been! It started early in the morning with the official release worldwide of the stunning anniversary image: a family portrait of two very photogenic nebulae, NGC 2014 and NGC 2020.

The grand plan for a synchronised unveiling of the spectacular image all over Europe had unfortunately been scuttled by COVID-19, but when we gave all the institutions involved the option to postpone or cancel the gatherings they had so carefully planned, we were surprised by the heartwarming response. The celebration had to happen — not in person, but somehow. Everybody wanted to see something happening, and they wanted to be part of it. So we shifted our plans to social media. Read here to see what was done, and the amazing involvement of people from across Europe.

On the day, we huddled together with our fan group of Hubble “huggers”, watching Hubble videos and beautiful testimonies from institutions and planetariums in an ESA/Hubble facebook watch party. ESA TV organised live chats with Hubble astronomers in five different languages. It was all virtual, but it was still a grand party for an observatory that has brought the Universe into people’s homes.

And as we celebrated the past accomplishments we had an eye to the future as a few weeks later the Hubble Time Allocation Committee was going to meet, virtually, to evaluate the 1000+ proposals received for Cycle 28, and design the scientific programme for the next year. Once again, we savoured the days of scientific debate, with the realisation that there is not enough time to do all the great science that was proposed. Against very stiff competition, astronomers from ESA Member States did very well, winning a significant fraction of the allocated proposals. Read here to find additional details of their success in Cycle 28. Their success will translate into unique and rich data sets, scientific discoveries and publications in professional journals. This article also details how engaged this community is in the scientific exploitation of the Hubble mission.

And looking further into the future, we look forward to the moment when Hubble and the James Webb Space Telescope will operate together, in scientific synergy.

NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

Read here about our initiatives to prepare the community for writing successful Webb proposals. We do expect the same high success rate for Webb that we are seeing for Hubble, and we are pulling out all the stops to ensure that European astronomers have the appropriate tools to translate their creative ideas into Webb data. That moment is not very far away.

Finally, from our entire team, our best wishes to you all — we hope you stay healthy. We are fortunate that science continues to provide a peaceful respite from the sad reality of COVID-19 and the civil unrest happening around the world. We are very fortunate that even in the darkest moments we do feel uplifted by looking at the spectacular night sky, which is there for ALL of humanity to marvel at.

See the full article here .


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The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), is a free-standing science center, located on the campus of The Johns Hopkins University and operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) for NASA, conducts Hubble science operations.

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