[ 2015 ] VOL [ 32 ] ISSUE [ 01 ]
Towards a 2020 Vision for the Hubble Space Telescope Towards a 2020 Vision for the <em>Hubble Space Telescope</em>

As we approach the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope on April 24, 1990, it seems appropriate not only to look back at Hubble’s achievements, but also to look forward to what is yet to come.  Indeed, Hubble has always been about bringing the future a bit more into focus—forward leaning, pushing the envelope, blazing frontiers, and opening new horizons to curious minds everywhere. (K. Sembach)

Hubble Cycle 22 Proposal Selection <em>Hubble</em> Cycle 22 Proposal Selection

During the week of 9–13 June, 2014, led by the Cycle 22 TAC chair, Dr. Pat McCarthy, more than 140 panelists and TAC members reviewed the 1,134 Cycle 22 proposals. Follow the process from beginning to end, culminating in the list of accepted proposals.  (J. Lotz, B. Blacker, C. Leitherer, & I. N. Reid)

ACS and WFC3 Calibration Improvements: Lessons from Hubble Frontier Fields ACS and WFC3 Calibration Improvements: Lessons from <em>Hubble</em>Frontier Fields

Hubble Frontier Fields is an ongoing Hubble cross-instrument MCT program that will observe six lensing clusters of galaxies with both the ACS and the WFC3. Many large Hubble proposals have been drivers of calibration improvements, generating new calibration methods that are shared with the astronomy community. (S. Ogaz, R. J. Avila, & B. Hilbert)

Exquisite Astrometric Measurements with WFC3 to Refine Hubble’s Measurement of the Hubble Constant Exquisite Astrometric Measurements with WFC3 to Refine <em>Hubble</em>’s Measurement of the Hubble Constant

One of the original scientific objectives for the Space Telescope was the accurate measurement of the expansion rate of the universe. This seminal discovery by Edwin Hubble fundamentally changed our understanding of the history of the universe—and was arguably the founding discovery of modern observational cosmology. Today, Hubble, almost 25 years after its launch, is still making breakthrough contributions. (J. W. MacKenty, A. Riess, & S. Casertano)

Version 1 of the Hubble Source Catalog Version 1 of the <em>Hubble</em> Source Catalog
Hubble has been in orbit for nearly 25 years, and has compiled an impressive legacy of observations.  The statistics alone make the point with a dozen different instruments, several hundred filters and gratings, tens of thousands of targets, and over a million observations. While this great volume and diversity is one of the great strengths of Hubble, it also makes it difficult to effectively use the archives in some cases, which is the motivation for the Hubble Source Catalog. (B. Whitmore)

Advisory Committee Origins of the Space Telescope Science Institute Advisory Committee Origins of the Space Telescope Science Institute

In the early 1970s, NASA and space astronomy advocates in the scientific community were trying to build a case for starting development of the Large Space Telescope. While most of the activity focused on design studies for the proposed flight hardware, NASA officials also began to consider approaches for operating the telescope once it could be launched. (J. K. Alexander)

Webb Status <em>Webb</em> Status

There were no lazy days of summer for the scientists and engineers working on the James Webb Space Telescope! Rather, summertime saw flurries of activity on many different mission fronts. (R. Osten)

The Single-Object Slitless Spectroscopy Mode of Webb’s NIRISS Instrument The Single-Object Slitless Spectroscopy Mode of <em>Webb</em>’s NIRISS Instrument

The James Webb Space Telescope’s Near Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph will offer a number of innovative observing modes, including single-object slitless spectroscopy.  This mode is optimized for spectroscopy of transiting exoplanet systems around nearby (and thus often bright) stars.  (P. Goudfrooij, L. Albert, & R. Doyon)

Webb Sunshield Unfolds <em>Webb</em> Sunshield Unfolds

One of the most visually striking subsystems of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is its stunning sunshield. Separating the observatory into a warm, sun-facing side and a cold, anti-sun side, a full-scale mockup of the sunshield subsystem has undergone a deployment test. (A. Conti)

Exoplanet Investigations with Webb Exoplanet Investigations with <em>Webb</em>

Characterizing planets orbiting stars beyond the sun—exoplanets—is one of the scientific frontiers pioneered using Hubble observations.  When Webb becomes operational, the current Hubble results will be expanded to an astonishing degree.  Webb’s sensitivity in the infrared, and especially its infrared spectroscopic capability, will be a boon to exoplanetary science.  While we await Webb, exoplanetary astronomers are using Hubble with increasing success and impact. (D. Deming & H. Knutson)

The Births of Supermassive Black Holes The Births of Supermassive Black Holes

Many questions exist regarding the births of supermassive black holes. Numerical simulations are under development to answer some these questions, but others may need to wait for the next generation of near-infrared telescopes.  Webb and WFIRST may soon detect the births of supermassive black holes, and in some cases the most powerful explosions in the universe that herald them.  (D. Whalen 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)

The Search for Life Is Picking Up Speed! The Search for Life Is Picking Up Speed!

Recently, the search for extraterrestrial life has started to gain significant momentum. Finding any form of life on a solar system body other than Earth would be very exciting, but there would be the possibility that life on Earth and this newly found life had the same origin. The true revolution will ensue once we find extrasolar life—life on a planet orbiting another star will imply that life is not exceedingly rare, with all the extraordinary biological and cultural implications.  (M. Livio)

Exploiting Nature’s Telescopes Exploiting Nature’s Telescopes

Cluster lenses—nature’s own telescopes—enhance our reach of the night sky and offer a glimpse of distant galaxies that would never ever be visible to us, no matter how far our technology progresses. Clusters of galaxies, the most massive and recently assembled structures in the universe, are the perfect astrophysical laboratories to tackle many pressing and key problems in cosmology today. (P. Natarajan)

Debris Disks and the Search for Life Debris Disks and the Search for Life

Planetesimals, the building blocks of planets, can be traced by the dust they produce by collisions and sublimation, which forms a debris disk around the star. This “zodiacal” dust has a variety of scientific connections and implications. While zodiacal emission is an issue for planet-finding at visible and near-infrared wavelengths, the latest information comes from far-infrared observations of dust in the outer reaches of planetary systems. (A. Moro-Martín)

Metals: Nature’s Tracer Particles Metals: Nature’s Tracer Particles

Almost as soon as it was first realized that stars and supernovae are the formation sites for the heavy elements, metals have been used to trace the history of star formation, and of gas flowing out of and back into galaxies. The distribution of “nature’s tracer particles” in and around galaxies provides a snapshot of the history of these processes driving how galaxies evolve.  We conducted an accounting of the metals in and around z ~ 0 star-forming galaxies, comparing this empirical census to the budget of metals that galaxies have produced in their lifetimes. (M. S. Peeples)

The 2014 STScI Spring Symposium: Habitable Worlds Across Time and Space The 2014 STScI Spring Symposium: Habitable Worlds Across Time and Space

The spring symposium “Habitable Worlds Across Time and Space” focused on the question of where to look for habitable worlds and what actually constitutes “habitability.” The foremost experts in a range of topics were gathered to promote critical thinking about the prospects for habitable planets beyond the traditional treatment of Sun-like stars, and how a broader scope of the search might relate to future NASA missions.  (J. Debes)

The 2014 STScI Calibration Workshop The 2014 STScI Calibration Workshop

The Calibration Workshop focused on Hubble's current complement of instruments, but devoted part of its time to Webb, since Hubble provides many lessons learned, with many directly applicable solutions to problems that Webb will encounter.  Beyond Hubble and Webb, the calibration of astronomical instruments and observatories is a rapidly developing field; the workshop also addressed topics that apply broadly to astronomical calibration in general. (D. Hines & R. Auer)