[ 2015 ] VOL [ 32 ] ISSUE [ 02 ]
Hubble’s 25th Anniversary and Beyond <em>Hubble</em>’s 25th Anniversary and Beyond

In 2015 we marked the 25th year of the Hubble Space Telescope’s journey of enabling scientific discovery and engagement of the public. Over its history, Hubble indeed has invigorated and reshaped our perception of the cosmos and uncovered a universe where almost anything within the laws of physics seems possible. Today, Hubble continues to provide views of never-before-seen cosmic wonders, and has a bright future—remaining on the forefront of key scientific topics. (H. Jirdeh & C. Christian)


From Cosmic Birth to Living Earths: The Future of UVOIR Space Astronomy From Cosmic Birth to Living Earths: The Future of UVOIR Space Astronomy

AURA recently published a new vision for the 2030s entitled From Cosmic Birth to Living Earths: The Future of UVOIR Space Astronomy. The report caps a two-year AURA-chartered study of how the ambitious goals of exoplanet and cosmic origins science can be combined into a single flagship general observatory dubbed the “High-Definition Space Telescope” (HDST). The AURA study advocates that NASA, its community, and industrial partners take steps to meet any technological challenges while the array of current and near-future missions lays the groundwork for HDST’s search for “Living Earths.” (J. Tumlinson)


Hubble Cycle 23 Proposal Selection <em>Hubble</em> Cycle 23 Proposal Selection

During June, 2015, led by the Cycle 23 TAC chair, Prof. Bradley Peterson, more than 140 panelists and TAC members reviewed the 1,115 Cycle 23 proposals. Follow the process from beginning to end, culminating in the list of accepted proposals. (L. Strolger, B. Blacker, C. Leitherer, & I. N. Reid)


Lyman-α: The Many Applications and Challenges of This Powerful Emission Line Lyman-α: The Many Applications and Challenges of This Powerful Emission Line

As Lyman-α is the strongest emission line in the ultraviolet spectrum of solar-type stars and as strong as the entire ultraviolet spectrum of cooler stars, it is extremely valuable for studying several powerful applications. The UV-sensitive STIS and COS instruments on Hubble have been very effective tools for studying diverse phenomena, despite the challenges posed by Ly-α’s extreme opacity and the absorption of most of its flux by interstellar hydrogen. (J. L. Linsky)


Up and Down! A Third Lifetime Position for COS/FUV Up and Down! A Third Lifetime Position for COS/FUV

Gain-sag makes it necessary to relocate science spectra to fresh parts of the COS/FUV detectors, or lifetime positions, every few years. COS/FUV operations started at lifetime position 1 (LP1), which lasted until July 23, 2012, when science spectra were moved to LP2, located 3.5″ above LP1. In February 2015, science spectra were moved to LP3, located 2.5″ below LP1. LP3 is located closer to LP1 than was LP2 in order to maximize the spectral resolution and lifetime of COS/FUV. (J. Roman-Duval & the COS/STIS Team)


Squeezing Together: A New Procedure for Extracting Spectra at the Third COS/FUV Lifetime Position Squeezing Together: A New Procedure for Extracting Spectra at the Third COS/FUV Lifetime Position

To maximize the spectral resolution and lifetime of the COS FUV channel at lifetime position 3 (LP3), the new location of the spectra on the detector was placed as close as possible to the worn-out regions near LP1. The new TWOZONE extraction algorithm was implemented to allow determination of when the overlap of these bad detector regions with the observed spectrum is significant enough to require discarding the affected regions from the final summed data products. (C. R. Proffitt & the COS/STIS Team)


Preparing for James Webb Space Telescope Science Preparing for <em>James Webb Space Telescope</em> Science

The development, integration, and testing of  Webb hardware and software systems continued in 2015, and the project remains on schedule and budget for its October 2018 launch. The fall of 2015 marks the three-year countdown to the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, and the two-year countdown to the Cycle 1 Call for Proposals! (J. Kalirai)


Improving Webb Coronagraphic Performance with Small-Grid Dithers Improving <em>Webb</em> Coronagraphic Performance with Small-Grid Dithers

The James Webb Space Telescope will be equipped with a suite of coronagraphs allowing observers to hunt for faint point sources or extended structures around bright stars and galaxies. In this article, we discuss the results of simulations aimed at demonstrating a possible new Webb mode that utilizes many subpixel dithered reference images, called Small-Grid Dithers, to optimize coronagraphic Point Spread Function subtraction. (C.-P. Lajoie, R. Soummer, L. Pueyo, & the JWST Coronagraphs Working Group)


NIRCam Ready for the Next Cryo Test NIRCam Ready for the Next Cryo Test

NIRCam hardware testing and science-support development have progressed significantly since the last update that appeared in the STScI Newsletter. NIRCam meets or exceeds all of its optical and detector performance requirements, and will be able to fulfill its dual roles as primary sensor for commissioning of the James Webb Space Telescope and 0.6–5 micron imager. (A. Rest et al.)


Trailblazing for Supernova Cosmology in the Early Universe Trailblazing for Supernova Cosmology in the Early Universe

Even with our incomplete understanding of stellar explosions, Type Ia SNe in particular have become an indispensable tool for illuminating the structure and history of the Universe. With Hubble Space Telescope observations of distant Type Ia SNe, we are now opening up new avenues for testing dark energy models. (S. A. Rodney & A. Riess)


UV Astronomy with Webb: Star-forming Galaxies at z ≳ 9 UV Astronomy with <em>Webb</em>: Star-forming Galaxies at <em>z</em> ≳ 9

There are a number of open and exciting questions for us to address with z ≳ 9 galaxies in the coming decade. The launch and first light of Webb will mark the beginning of a new era in our study of such high-redshift galaxies. Webb's NIRSpec and NIRCam instruments will offer a wealth of information on the diversity and UV luminosities of galaxies in the epoch of reionization. (E. Levesque)


The Most Massive Extragalactic Evolved Stars The Most Massive Extragalactic Evolved Stars

The recent identification of an emerging class of evolved self-obscured 25−60 M stars in galaxies at ∼1−4 Mpc has created the opportunity to investigate a statistically significant number of stars undergoing episodic mass loss. While our current efforts to identify these rare objects in a short-lived yet consequential evolutionary phase primarily rely on archival Spitzer IRAC (3.6−8 μm) and MIPS (24 μm) images, they can be studied far more optimally with Webb, taking advantage of MIRI’s order-of-magnitude-higher resolution. (R. Khan)


Revealing Core-Collapse Supernova Explosions with Webb Revealing Core-Collapse Supernova Explosions with <em>Webb</em>

Hubble has already led in the exploration of several fundamental aspects of core-collapse supernovae, but much of their nature, with respect to what types of stars explode and how they explode, remains unclear. The next breakthroughs require the capabilities of Webb, which will enable transformative science in supernova progenitor systems, explosive nucleosynthesis, and dust formation. (D. Milisavljevic & R. A. Fesen)


The Biconical Outflow at the Center of the Milky Way: A Hubble Space Telescope Program to Explore the Galactic Center The Biconical Outflow at the Center of the Milky Way: A <em>Hubble Space Telescope</em> Program to Explore the Galactic Center

The Galactic Center is surrounded by two giant plasma lobes known as the Fermi Bubbles. Multi-wavelength emission maps have revealed the shape and size of the Fermi Bubbles, but until now, the speed and chemical composition of the gas flowing into the Bubbles from the Galactic Center have remained unknown. We designed a Hubble Space Telescope program to study the kinematics, spatial extent, and chemical abundances of the nuclear outflow, and here we report early results from that program. (A. Fox)


New Insights on Exoplanet Atmospheres New Insights on Exoplanet Atmospheres

In this article we highlight two new results based on Hubble WFC3 transit spectroscopy observations that were carried out as part of a Large Treasury program in Cycle 21. One of the exciting new developments is the demonstration of phase-resolved emission spectroscopy of exoplanets. A second recent development is the demonstration of constraints on the carbon-to-oxygen ratios in exoplanet atmospheres. (J. Bean & J.-M. Désert)


Planetary Systems Around White Dwarfs Planetary Systems Around White Dwarfs

Given the ubiquity of planets around main-sequence stars, it is certain that many of the known white dwarfs were once hosting planets, and it is very likely that a fair fraction of them still have remnants of their planetary systems. These systems offer a glimpse into the future of the solar system, and provide insight into the bulk composition of exo-planetesimals, as well as the frequency of rocky planetary systems around A-type stars. (B. Gänsicke)


Vulcanism on Io with Aperture Masking Interferometry on Webb’s NIRISS Vulcanism on Io with Aperture Masking Interferometry on <em>Webb</em>’s NIRISS

Vulcanism on Jupiter’s moon, Io, presents a solar system science opportunity for the AMI mode of Webb's NIRISS. Precise determinations of the positions of unresolved volcanic eruptions will be possible. Accurate photometry of the eruptions in some or all filters will provide powerful insights into short-term variability, eruption temperatures and active areas, and trends in activity for individual calderas on Io, which could provide new measurements of the global distribution of vulcanism, improving constraints on the depth and location of tidal heating in the interior. (D. Thatte, A. Sivaramakrishnan, & J. Stansberry)


Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes

The Barbara A. Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes is NASA’s data repository for astronomy missions in the ultraviolet–optical wavelength range, including both active and legacy missions. MAST supports the astronomical community by facilitating access to its collections, offering expert user support, and providing software for calibration and analysis. (A. Koekemoer, for the MAST team)

 


Mocking the Universe: Better Science through Data Simulation Mocking the Universe: Better Science through Data Simulation

As observational facilities and surveys continually increase in complexity and required precision, so too have the demands for realistic mock universes—and mock observations of those fake universes. In the past, data simulations have predominantly been used in the context of large surveys; these applications transitioned to planning future surveys and instruments requiring not only robust models of astrophysical sources and systematics, but also detailed models of how telescopes and instruments turn photons into observed data. (M. Peeples)


Passing the Baton... Passing the Baton…

This newsletter issue marks a transition to a new editorial team: Ms. Ann Jenkins as Editor and Dr. Carol Christian as Chief Science Advisor. (C. Christian & A. Jenkins)