Hubble Cycle 19 Proposal Selection <em>Hubble</em> Cycle 19 Proposal Selection

During the week of 16–20 May, 2011, led by the TAC chair, Dr. James Graham, 132 panelists and TAC members reviewed the 1,007 Cycle 19 proposals. Follow the process from beginning to end, culminating in the list of accepted proposals. (R. Somerville, C. Leitherer, & B. Blacker)

The James Webb Space Telescope Lives in Interesting Times The <em>James Webb Space Telescope</em> Lives in Interesting Times

The scientific case for JWST grows stronger as the technical progress of the mission reaches new heights and gets key milestones behind us. However, its management and budget travails come at a difficult time for our community. NASA is in the process of redefining the JWST budget and schedule, which have not yet been made public. (M. Mountain)

JWST Flagship <em>JWST</em> Flagship

JWST is the immediate future of NASA’s flagship missions. In its near- and mid-infrared wavelength domain, JWST is orders of magnitude more powerful than the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes. JWST will provide the same synergy to the Astro2010 priorities—Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope that Hubble and Spitzer currently provide to Keck, Gemini, and the Very Large Telescope. (J. Kalirai)

Frontier Science Opportunities with James Webb Space Telescope Frontier Science Opportunities with <em>James Webb Space Telescope</em>

Nearly 200 astronomers from around the world gathered to critically review the science potential of JWST. The meeting also provided an opportunity to educate the next generation of astronomers about the role that JWST is expected to play in addressing the top science questions outlined by the recent decadal survey of astronomy and astrophysics. (W. Freedman & J. Kalirai)

NIRcam Update NIRcam Update

In addition to serving as a powerful imager for the JWST core science goals, NIRCam also plays a key role as a facility instrument. NIRCam will perform the wave-front sensing functions needed to keep the primary-mirror segments—and in general, the entire telescope optical train—properly aligned. The optimal focusing of all JWST instruments depends critically on this instrument. (M. Rieke & M. Robberto)

Keeping Hubble Productive Keeping <em>Hubble</em> Productive

One of the primary goals of the Space Telescope Science Institute is to help the astronomical community to maximize the science output from the Hubble Space Telescope. While science return is not always easy to define or measure, the number of papers published per year based on Hubble results is at least a quantifiable metric. (B. Whitmore & K. Levay)

News for the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph News for the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph

The Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on Hubble continues to produce exciting science and accounts for nearly 18% of all guest-observer prime orbits allocated in Cycle 19. With such an abundance of interest and data, the calibration and characterization of the COS detectors continues at a fast pace in order to provide optimal science. (J. Ely, for the COS team)

STIS Update STIS Update

After more than 13 years on orbit, the CCD detector in STIS shows the effects of accumulated radiation damage. In particular, its CTE—the fraction of charge successfully moved between adjacent pixels during readout— continues to decline. In this article, we explore the effects of CTE degradation on imaging and spectroscopic observations with STIS. (V. Dixon)

WFC3 Flat Fields WFC3 Flat Fields

Using multiple ground-based and in-flight strategies, the WFC3 team has been refining flat-field calibrations for WFC3 filters. As additional date are accumulated, improved versions will be released. (E. Sabbi & J. MacKenty)

New Focus Tool for Estimating Hubble's PSF New Focus Tool for Estimating <em>Hubble</em>‘s PSF

The Institute recently released an on-line tool to determine the Hubble focus—the main uncertain parameter in the PSF—which facilitates analysis operations when the PSF cannot be adequately estimated from the data, and an independent handle on the time-dependent variations of focus is required.
(M. Lallo et al.)

Visualizing Hubble Data Visualizing <em>Hubble</em> Data

When Hubble was conceived and built, the decision makers, scientists, and engineers who did the work were not sure of its public impact or how it would affect science or culture. Today, we know these impacts are profound and far-reaching. These consequences are due in no small part to the Hubble color pictures. (Z. Levay)

Multimission Archive at Space Telescope Multimission Archive at Space Telescope

The Multimission Archive at Space Telescope (MAST) 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. Conti, for the MAST team)

Virtual Astronomical Observatory Update Virtual Astronomical Observatory Update

The Institute has a major role in the VAO. We have made a number of advances in this new program over the past six months in the areas of education and public outreach, science applications, and the VAO registry. (G. Greene & R. Hanisch)

Hubble Fellowship News Hubble Fellowship News

This year, we begin the third decade of the Hubble Fellowship Program, now expanded to include all present and future missions in NASA’s Cosmic Origins theme. For virtually all of its existence, the program has been and remains one of the leading fellowship programs in the field of astronomy and astrophysics. The Hubble Fellowship Program continues to be one of the highlights of NASA’s pursuit of excellence in space science. (R. Allen)

Miniworkshop on the Astrophysics of Intermediate-Luminosity Red Transients Miniworkshop on the Astrophysics of Intermediate-Luminosity Red Transients

The gap in maximum luminosity between classical novae and supernovae has started to fill in, due to discoveries of members of a new class of astrophysical transients. They show maximum luminosities intermediate between those of classical novae and supernovae, and usually become extremely red as their outbursts proceed over timescales of a few months. Because of several dramatic new developments in this subject, the Institute hosted a workshop on ILRTs in June 2011. (H. Bond)

Very Wide Field Surveys Very Wide Field Surveys

The scientific prospects of large surveys are enormous, as reflected in the top facilities recommended by Astro2010—the space-based Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope and the ground-based Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. Are we ready? How must we prepare? The goal of this conference was to promote awareness of the issues and opportunities of the coming era of upcoming very wide-area surveys. (M. Robberto & A. Ptak)

Mind Over Dark Matter Mind Over Dark Matter

Dark matter does not emit any light and it cannot be “seen” in the common sense of the word. Yet, this invisible stuff constitutes most of the universe’s mass. No wonder, then, that astronomers and particle physicists worldwide have been trying for decades to detect the presence of the elusive particles of dark matter. More than 130 participants attended the Institute’s 2011 May Symposium, which provided a wonderful opportunity to review the latest results of the searches for dark matter. (M. Livio)

High-Speed Ballistic Stellar Interlopers High-Speed Ballistic Stellar Interlopers

Plowing through dense regions of interstellar gas at velocities possibly as high as 100,000 miles per hour, “ballistic stellar interlopers” are members of a new class of bright, high-velocity stars found speeding through the galaxy. (R. Sahai)

Starbursts in Dwarf Galaxies Starbursts in Dwarf Galaxies

Bursts of star formation light up a galaxy for a hundreds of millions of years—much longer than astronomers previously thought. "Starbursts" were thought to be localized in star-forming pockets of the inner regions of galaxies, and to have a much shorter duration. McQuinn's team has found that star formation can be much more widespread, extending across the disk of the galaxies, and lasting for 100s of millions of years. It is thought that the gravitational tidal force felt from another galaxy whizzing by in space causes gas clouds to collide and collapse to form new stars everywhere in the galaxy. (K. McQuinn)