Hubble Cycle 20 Proposal Selection <em>Hubble</em> Cycle 20 Proposal Selection

During the week of 21–25 May, 2012, led by the Cycle 20 TAC chair, Dr. Mario Mateo, 132 panelists and TAC members reviewed the 1,090 Cycle 20 proposals. Follow the process from beginning to end, culminating in the list of accepted proposals.  (A. Fox, C. Leitherer, & B. Blacker)

An Ultraviolet Initiative for Hubble in Cycle 21 An Ultraviolet Initiative for <em>Hubble</em> in Cycle 21

With the unique role played by Hubble at UV wavelengths, coupled with its finite instrument lifetimes,  it is imperative that the astronomical community be given full opportunity to exploit these capabilities in Hubble’s final years.  We propose an across-the-board initiative for the next observing cycle to emphasize the unique Hubble resource in the UV.  (N. Reid & K. Sembach)

The On-Orbit Anomaly of the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph of April 2012 The On-Orbit Anomaly of the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph of April 2012

On April 30, 2012, observations with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph onboard Hubble were anomalously suspended when one of the two segments of the COS far-ultraviolet cross-delay line microchannel plate detector experienced an excessively high count rate.  This event did not damage the detector. In a similar situation, it should be possible to recover the FUV detector more quickly and with less disruption to COS science. (A. Aloisi, et al.)

STIS Update STIS Update

The operations of the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph have been remarkably stable, and the COS/STIS team has been focusing on improving calibration and monitoring the instrument in preparation for Cycle 20 observing. (J. Debes, S. Lockwood, & C. Cox, for the STIS team)

Mitigating Radiation-Induced Aging in the WFC3/UVIS Channel CCD Detectors Mitigating Radiation-Induced Aging in the WFC3/UVIS Channel CCD Detectors

After three-plus years in flight, the CCDs in the ultraviolet-optical channel of Wide Field Camera 3 are showing significant damage from ionizing radiation. The effect is easily seen in the charge trails behind hot pixels and cosmic rays.  Recent advances in mitigation techniques promise to recover much of the CCD’s scientific performance, once observers make some changes in their observing and data-reduction strategies.  (J. W. MacKenty & J. Anderson)

Webb Update <em>Webb</em> Update

The summer of 2012 saw the Webb program achieve several major milestones, including the delivery of two of the four science instruments from international partners to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.  These deliveries of these instruments mark an important transition from the development phase to the integration and testing phase.  Next, the instruments will be attached to the Integrated Science Instrument Module at NASA/GSFC.  (J. Kalirai)

The Webb Science Operations Design Reference Mission 2012 The <em>Webb</em> Science Operations Design Reference Mission 2012

The Webb teams from the Institute, Goddard Space Flight Center, and the instrument developers recently completed simulating the scientific program of the observatory, called the Science Operations Design Reference Mission (SODRM 2012). This SODRM overhauls the 2005 version; it is designed to represent the range and depth of programs that Webb will carry out during normal science operations. (J. Tumlinson & K. Gordon, for the Webb Efficiency Working Group)

Bringing the Webb Mission to the Education Community Bringing the <em>Webb</em> Mission to the Education Community

The launch date for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope may be several years away, but students and educators in New York and California are already exploring the challenges engineers face in designing, building, and testing the future infrared observatory. (B. Eisenhamer)

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)

Three-Dimensional Data Visualization in SAOImage DS9 Version 7 Three-Dimensional Data Visualization in SAOI<span class=mage DS9 Version 7" />

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory has released version 7 of the popular data-viewing tool SAOImage DS9, a stand-alone application for imaging and data visualization. The new version supports 3-D viewing of astronomical data cubes, which are used in data products in widely ranging areas of science. Whatever the application, the need for new visualization tools for complex datasets has never been greater, and the new version of SAOImage DS9 is most welcome. (T. L. Beck & W. Joye)

AstroDrizzle: Image Combination, Astrometry Included <span class=AstroDrizzle: Image Combination, Astrometry Included" />

If you have retrieved imaging data from the Hubble archive recently, you have probably seen a notice saying that a new program, AstroDrizzle, has replaced MultiDrizzle in the Hubble pipeline. AstroDrizzle is the key program in a new package of programs designed to reduce dithered data. This package is called DrizzlePac and replaces the older Dither package, which contained MultiDrizzle. (A. Fruchter)

NASA’s Astronomy Science Centers: Implementing Portals to the Universe NASA’s Astronomy Science Centers: Implementing <em>Portals to the Universe</em>

To better understand the processes currently used by various centers, the NASA Astrophysics Division asked STScI to help coordinate a workshop to review the implementation of the recommendations from the Portals to the Universe report. The workshop was held on April 25, 2012, with 38 participants from missions and science centers.  The workshop demonstrated that there are many areas where missions have converged on similar methods to address a range of issues. At the same time, each mission has developed unique means of tackling its particular challenges.  (I. N. Reid, L. Storrie-Lombardi, & B. Wilkes)

Discovering the First Galaxies with a New Kind of Gravitational-Lens Telescope Discovering the First Galaxies with a New Kind of Gravitational-Lens Telescope

To make progress in observing and detecting the earliest galaxies, we must imagine a different kind of gravitational lens, where mass is optimally distributed in space to produce significant magnification over the largest possible area. We are developing a new theoretical formalism and an extensive observational program to identify those areas of the sky most likely to produce detections of distant, faint galaxies. (A. Zabludoff)

Review of “A Curious Mind” Review of “A Curious Mind”

The voice of “A Curious Mind” speaks softly in the noisy blogosphere, seeking connections between science and art. His musings reflect the dual interests of the “curious” blogger—astrophysicist and author Mario Livio, who has nurtured a lifelong love of art while pursuing his lifelong career as a scientist. (D. Sobel)

30 Doradus: The Starburst Next Door 30 Doradus: The Starburst Next Door

On September 17–19, 2012, a group of around 50 astronomers—with interests ranging from stars to starbursts—gathered at the Institute for a two-and-a-half-day mini-workshop to review the latest findings on 30 Doradus.  (D. Lennon, S. Hanna, L. Smith, E. Sabbi, A. Wofford, B. Whitmore, S. de Mink, N. Walborn, & K. Gordon)

Black Holes Caught in the Act Black Holes Caught in the Act

The majority of supermassive black holes (SMBHs) in the universe lurk hidden, starved of fuel, and at distances that are too far to measure their dynamical influence; this hinders probing the co-evolution of galaxies and SMBHs. There is, however, the chance to catch a dormant black hole “light up” when it feeds on an unlucky star that wanders close enough for tidal gravitational forces to tear it apart.  (S. Gezari)

Ejected Stars Ejected Stars

Because of the ever-present pull of gravity, interactions between objects in the universe are commonplace and often dynamic. Finding stars like 30 Doradus #016 and HE 0437–5439, that have been flung completely away from their original galactic neighborhoods, is not common. Both stars were ejected from their original stellar environs, but under very different circumstances. (C. Evans, O. Y. Gnedin, & W. R. Brown)