[ 2014 ] VOL [ 31 ] ISSUE [ 01 ]
HST IV & Looking to the Future <em>HST</em> IV & Looking to the Future

This year marks the 24th anniversary of Hubble's launch and the 37th year of the NASA/ESA Hubble partnership.  Throughout those years, ESA has provided technical expertise, instrumentation, support scientists, and hosted a series of meetings to celebrate Hubble science. "HST IV" was designed not only to review Hubble's recent scientific contributions, but also to look forward to future research with Hubble and Webb, and to explore the path towards further transatlantic space-astronomy collaborations. (N. Reid, A. Nota, & P. Jeffries)

New Insights with WFC3 IR Observations New Insights with WFC3 IR Observations

Developing an infrared instrument for Hubble became an important driver of infrared-detector technology, with benefits accruing to ground- and space-based astronomy.  Today's WFC3 includes an infrared channel for broad-band imaging and slitless spectroscopy limited primarily by the natural background in space. With more pixels, improved noise properties and better sensitivity than NICMOS, WFC3 is enabling observers to explore uncharted scientific territory while providing a better understanding of detector behavior and background characteristics of near-infrared observations from space. (J. W. MacKenty & G. Brammer)

Pushing STIS Coronagraphy Deeper with New Coronagraphic Modes Pushing STIS Coronagraphy Deeper with New Coronagraphic Modes

The Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph possesses unique visible-light coronagraphic modes that keep the instrument at the forefront of exoplanet and debris-disk research. In Cycle 22, a new coronagraphic position is available that will push even closer to nearby bright stars. A damaged but now commissioned, coronagraphic, image-plane occulter in the 50CORON aperture is nicknamed “the bent finger.”  (J. Debes, A. Gaspar,  & G. Schneider)

Bruce Woodgate Bruce Woodgate

It is with heavy hearts that we pass along the sad news of the passing of Bruce Woodgate, whose legacy to the field of astronomy is broad and enduring, represented not only by the scientific papers he authored, but also the research of the thousands of astronomers who have used—and continue to use—the instruments Bruce built to explore the universe. He was a master instrument builder on whose shoulders we stand. Bruce will be sorely missed. (M. Mountain, W. Oegerle, & K. Sembach)

About the Hubble Cycle 21 TAC Ombudsperson Report About the <em>Hubble</em> Cycle 21 TAC Ombudsperson Report

The Space Telescope Science Institute employs a time-allocation system based on community peer review; this process is reviewed periodically and, if necessary, modified to eliminate potential bias and better match community priorities. In that context, the Institute Director decided to appoint an ombudsperson for the Cycle 21 Telescope Allocation Committee (TAC) to provide an independent review of the TAC process. (N. Reid)

Turning Up the Science When the Weather Gets Cold Turning Up the Science When the Weather Gets Cold

This winter’s AAS meeting offered opportunities for the community to learn about activities within the Webb development project and about the mission’s science prospects: a special session was devoted to the fields of science that will be advanced by Webb; a joint town hall meeting discussed the performance of Hubble and the progress on Webb; there were talks, exhibits, field trips to Goddard, thousands of tweets, Google hangouts... (R. Osten)

Aperture-Masking Interferometry with Webb’s NIRISS Aperture-Masking Interferometry with <em>Webb</em>’s NIRISS

Webb’s NIRISS instrument has a non-redundant mask in its pupil wheel which enables aperture-masking interferometry (AMI), a high-resolution, moderate-contrast imaging technique.  AMI is gaining popularity in ground-based direct imaging of exoplanets and transition disks.  (A. Sivaramakrishnan & É. Artigau)

Introducing the NIRSpec Planning Tool for Multi-Object Spectroscopy Introducing the NIRSpec Planning Tool for Multi-Object Spectroscopy

The Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec) will be the workhorse instrument on the James Webb Space Telescope for near-infrared spectroscopy. It will offer three spectral bands, with a choice of both medium-  and high-resolution gratings. A low-resolution prism will also be available.  NIRSpec will feature astronomy’s first space-based, multi-object spectroscopic capability, using micro-shutter arrays.  (D. Karakla et al.)

ISIM Cryo-Vacuum Test #1 ISIM Cryo-Vacuum Test #1

In late 2013, a major cryo-vacuum test of ISIM hardware with two flight instruments (MIRI and FGS/NIRISS) took place. This test represented a risk-reduction exercise in preparation for the upcoming ISIM verification tests in 2014 and 2015. The test was highly successful, demonstrating several important optical and thermal performance characteristics of these instruments, other flight ISIM systems, and the test hardware. A small number of problems were also identified, showing the value of this early test. (S. D. Friedman & R. A. Kimble)

Selecting Targets for Webb Selecting Targets for <em>Webb</em>

Webb overlaps the spectral ranges of Spitzer and Hubble, but its science operations will be more like Hubble. Webb is big, and its great inertial mass means that it will be more efficient for pointed, small-field observations than for large-area surveys. Fortunately, the space observatories that precede it—Spitzer, Herschel, and to some extent, Hubble—produced major surveys, which are helping to select targets for Webb. (M. Meixner)

Star Formation in Nearby Galaxies: The Role of Webb Star Formation in Nearby Galaxies: The Role of <em>Webb</em>

Decades of observations in the IR and other wavelengths, using both space- and ground-based facilities, have vastly increased our understanding of how star formation evolves in galaxies, and how it is related to a galaxy’s general characteristics. Nevertheless, key questions remain unanswered.  These answers can only come from Webb, in combination with existing facilities offering high angular resolution, like Hubble and ALMA.  (D. Calzetti, J. E. Andrews, & A. F. Crocker)

The Galactic Center through the Eye of Webb The Galactic Center through the Eye of <em>Webb</em>

Webb can address a number of fundamental questions through studies of the Galactic Center. First, we can investigate how supermassive black holes grow and influence their environment at a level of detail that is not possible in other galaxies. We can learn how nuclear star clusters form, and whether their growth is related to the growth of the black hole in some fashion. Last, we can investigate how the extreme conditions in this region affect the star-formation process. [Note: To view this article's video figures, it is necessary to use either Adobe Acrobat or Reader.] (J. R. Lu et al.)

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)

Cosmic Reionization and Early Galaxy Formation Cosmic Reionization and Early Galaxy Formation

One of the final frontiers in assembling the full story of cosmic history relates to the period 200–800 Myr after the Big Bang, when early galaxies first bathed the universe in starlight. When did this happen, and were those sources the principal agent responsible for transforming hydrogen in the intergalactic medium from a neutral to ionized state? To address these fundamental questions requires observations of faint galaxies that probe into the heart of the reionization era, at redshifts up to z = 10.  (B. Robertson & R. S. Ellis)

Orion Nebula Workshop Orion Nebula Workshop

On October 13–16, 2013, the Institute hosted a mini-workshop entitled “The Orion Nebula Cluster as a Paradigm of Star Formation.” Over 60 participants came to discuss the current understanding of what is probably the best studied star-forming region in the sky. This meeting commemorated the completion of the Hubble Treasury observing program on the Orion Nebula Cluster. (M. Robberto)