sci14009 — Announcement

Cycle 22 Time Allocation Committee

29 July 2014

The Cycle 22 Hubble time allocation process has just concluded, with the eagerly awaited Cycle 22 notification letters appearing through Hubble users' letterboxes in the last week of June.

For those who have been successful, this marks the beginning of new and exciting times, planning new observations, collecting beautiful data, publishing new results and making new discoveries.

Allocation statistics

The Cycle 22 Time Allocation Committee worked very hard to select a subset to present to the STScI Director for approval out of the 1135 proposals submitted. This year, the oversubscription ended up being a factor 4.25 for proposals, and a factor 5.4 for orbits.

When the final allocation statistics were calculated, Principal Investigators (PIs) of ESA member states did very well in the competition, obtaining 23.3% of the successful proposals, and 14.6% of the allocated prime orbits. On top of this, a 480-orbit pure parallel programme was allocated to a PI from the UK. This was one of four submitted.

Among the scientific categories, Cosmology made up slightly more than 20% of the total, immediately followed by Solar System and Resolved Stellar Populations hovering at slightly more than 10%. Interstellar Medium, Intergalactic Medium, Hot Stars and Extra-solar Planets also took away a significant fraction of the allocated time.

As would be expected for Hubble, imaging still took the lion’s share of the allocated Hubble observations in Cycle 22, with 67% of the time allocated to WFC3 and ACS. Spectroscopy had the remaining third.

Time Allocation Committee process

The panels met for three days to discuss small and medium proposals. Then the Time Allocation Committee (TAC), comprised of the panel Chairs and At-large members, met for the second half of the week to discuss and rank the large proposals and to ensure that the overall programme was balanced and compelling.

21 European astronomers participated in the process as panel members, Chairs and TAC At-large members.

TAC At-large member James Binney, University of Oxford, UK had this to say on the quality of the proposals submitted and the difficulty of their task: “I was amazed that there wasn't a significant fraction of weak proposals: the great majority made compelling cases and made me really keen to know what would be found. The discussions in the panels were lively and informative.”

Catherine Cesarsky, Centre d'études de Saclay, France, also a TAC At-large member, shared that: “It was an experience both exhilarating and exhausting to spend practically one whole week with this diverse and purposeful group of astrophysicists, working day and night, all of us so keen to be fair and to achieve the best selection for the Hubble Telescope and for astronomy.”

It was an exciting week indeed. Observing the process and listening to the thorough discussions we were left amazed at how clever and creative our community is, always thinking of new and innovative ideas to push the scientific horizon forward.

It was also exciting to see how much new and interesting science our “old” telescope will do next year, as we approach the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of Hubble’s launch.

Finally, our collective gratitude goes to all panel members, Chairs and TAC members for their hard work and dedication in shaping Hubble’s scientific legacy for the year to come.


Antonella Nota
ESA HST Project Scientist, STScI

About the Announcement



Comparison of the distribution of scientific topics for submitted and accepted proposals for the cycle 22 TAC
Comparison of the distribution of scientific topics for submitted and accepted proposals for the cycle 22 TAC

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