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ESA/Hubble/JWST Science Newsletter

From the desk of the ESA Hubble and JWST Project Scientist

So many important  events on the Hubble front in the last few months! First, we all are thankful that Hubble returned to normal operations, with three well functioning gyros. Gyros provide key information to the complex system that Hubble uses to point to and observe your favorite target.

So when Gyro 2 failed on 27 October a collective sigh was heard.

Gyro 2 had been misbehaving for several months, so its departure was not unexpected. What was unexpected, though, was Gyro 3’s strange behavior when it was brought online to complete the trio. You can read here the story, why Hubble was kept offline for several days, and how we managed to get a happy ending after all. Now that Hubble has resumed nominal operations, we are grateful to the super-dedicated operation team at Goddard Space Flight Center and at STScI, where engineers and scientists worked closely together to make sure that our favorite telescope was safe and could be returned to work as soon as possible to make new scientific discoveries. With the problem being solved Hubble is expected to still be a fully functioning and productive observatory well into 2025, to overlap a couple of years with JWST.

At the same time as the gyro story unfolded, the Time Allocation Committee was meeting in Baltimore, to assess the medium and large proposals received in response to the Cycle 26 call. This time no small proposals were allowed, as these had already been accepted in large numbers in last summer. Read here about some highlights from the time allocation process, and the first impressions from the proposal anonymisation, which seems to have stopped the bias trend noticed in previous years. The large majority of panel members and chairs also gave very positive feedback on the ability to focus only on the science merits of each proposals.

On the archive front, there is another reason to celebrate: the European Hubble archive at ESAC – the eHST - is now and officially a full mirror of the Hubble Archive at STScI. Read here about the successful conclusion of a tightly woven collaboration between STScI, ESAC and CADC that now delivers Hubble data from three locations, in the US, Canada and Europe.

Finally, to the community of actively engaged Hubble users: we want to hear from you! Help us make the science newsletter most useful and informative to you! Tell us what you want to know, tell us what you like and what we can improve. For 2019, we are planning to continue covering JWST, as well as Hubble, and include more of your science. Send us your feedback at

And, do enjoy a restful and  peaceful holiday break.

From the entire ESA/Hubble team, Happy Holidays to all!

Antonella Nota
ESA HST Project Scientist, STScI

Science Announcements

Our Place in Space continues to fascinate the world

17 December 2018: The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope travelling exhibition Our Place in Space continues to fascinate visitors around the world. After its launch to an audience of 30 000 in Venice, Italy, in February 2017, the exhibition was on display in Chiavenna (20 000 visitors), Garching (29 000 visitors) and Vienna, where it attracted 109 000 visitors! Its latest variation is ...

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Hubble is exploring the Universe once again

17 December 2018: In early October 2018, Hubble operations ceased and Hubble entered safe mode following the failure of Gyro 2. Backup Gyro 3 was powered on shortly thereafter but its non-nominal performance prolonged Hubble’s stay in safe mode for about 3 weeks while an anomaly review board investigated the behaviour and established a path forward to recover full science operations. Thanks ...

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Cycle 26 TAC highlights and successes

17 December 2018: For all of us supporting the Hubble mission, the Time Allocation Committee (TAC) week is the week we look forward to. It is a week of pure science, spent listening to all the ideas that the very creative Hubble community proposes to push the boundaries of knowledge. In October tens of astronomers from the USA and Europe descended on Baltimore ...

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A new Hubble Archive mirror in Europe

17 December 2018: In June 2018 a new mirror of the Hubble archive at STScI was opened to the public in Europe. Hosted at the ESAC Science Data Centre (ESDC) in the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) near Madrid, this represents the culmination of almost two years of effort by scientists and engineers from the ESDC, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), and ...

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Tangled — cosmic edition  Different generations  Of bent time and jellyfish  Feeling blue  Helping Hubble 

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