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ESA/Hubble/JWST Science Newsletter
11 October 2021

From the desk of the HST and JWST Project Scientist

-By Antonella Nota-

2021: what a roller coaster this summer has been! The COVID pandemic is still limiting our movements and we are still mostly virtual. At STScI, we are now slowly returning to our offices, a few days a week. The first meetings in person felt great — finally interactions in 3D! But in spite of the pandemic, support to the missions continues, as strong as usual.

In June we completed the Cycle 29 Time Allocation review. European astronomers fared really well, successfully leading 24% of the accepted proposals, with an oversubscription rate of 7:1. Again, the Dual Anonymous Review was also an undisputed winner, with astronomers involved in the review advocating for a global adoption of the system, in order to discuss the science and only the science. Read here some notes of interest from that meeting. A heartfelt thank you to all of you who submitted, successfully or not, your best ideas, and our collective gratitude to those of you (you know who you are) who supported the review. Without you this process could not run, and we do appreciate the time and the effort you committed to make the process robust and fair!

At the time of the Time Allocation review, Hubble gave us a big scare, when the onboard  payload computer that controls the science instruments halted. Read here about the valiant attempts of the Hubble team to revive the doomed computer, which led to the identification of the problem and the eventual realisation that the only way to recover scientific observations was to switch spacecraft sides from B to A. A tough decision, and a real nail biter, but successful in the end! The announcement “Hubble is back!” resonated through the airways. Hubble is indeed back, fully operational and continuing to make breakthrough  discoveries and impact both science and society. Find here some interesting data on the impact of ESA/Hubble activities during the Hubble 31 Anniversary campaign.

As for Webb, a moment of joy came when the launch date was finally announced: 18 December 2021. Read here to learn what is currently happening and the preparations that are in progress to ensure a  smooth last journey on Earth before the powerful Ariane 5 rocket blasts, from the Europe Spaceport in Guiana, its precious payload to its final observing platform: L2. After all these years, the moment we have patiently anticipated is finally here, and we cannot wait. We will be in touch again just around the time of launch. Stay tuned, follow us on social media and in the news and we will soon be celebrating together!


Antonella Nota
ESA/HST & ESA/JWST Project Scientist
STScI Baltimore, USA

Science Announcements

The selection of the Hubble Cycle 29 Science Program

11 October 2021:  -By Antonella Nota and Laura Watkins - After 31 years in orbit, the yearly selection of the scientific program for Hubble has almost become routine. Year after year, this fine-tuned process runs its course, involving a large cross section of the astronomical community, including significant European representation. When the COVID pandemic struck, the challenge was set — would it be …

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Hubble’s Summer 2021 Journey

11 October 2021: -By Paule Sonnentrucker- This summer Hubble kept us all on the edge of our seats again! This time it was not only because it continued to reveal new, breathtaking views of our Universe, but also because Hubble had to weather its own health issues that brought science observations to a halt for the best part of five long weeks.   In …

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The James Webb Space Telescope: The Journey to Europe's Spaceport Begins

11 October 2021: -By Maurice te Plate (ESA)- We are getting very close to launching the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the largest and most complex space telescope ever built! At Northrop Grumman’s facilities in Redondo Beach California, the past months have been very busy with many close-out activities to be finished: The Fore and Aft Sunshield Unitized Pallet Structures (UPS), the structures …

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Call for ESA/Hubble & ESA/Webb Outreach Intern

11 October 2021: The ESA/Hubble & ESA/Webb Outreach team is looking for a motivated individual to join the team as an intern to support a variety of roles and activities pertaining to the work of bringing the images and science from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope to the scientific community and the public for the European …

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Hubble’s Impact on Society: the reach of the 31st anniversary initiatives

11 October 2021: -By Bethany Downer- In its more than three decades in orbit, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has revolutionised our understanding of the Universe, educated both astronomers and the public at large, and inspired new generations of students to become interested in astronomy, space science and engineering. Hubble has brought the Universe into people’s homes and has effectively made its beauty …

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Invisible Galactic Gale  A Dangerous Dance  More than Meets the Eye  On Clusters and Constellations 

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