Nearly 30 years ago Riccardo Giacconi, then the Institute Director, challenged Peter Stockman (Research Branch Head) and me (Deputy Director) to “think about the next major mission beyond Hubble.” This was still several years before the launch of Hubble, during the period after the Challenger accident when the future looked unclear. Riccardo was concerned that major missions take a very long time between inception and commissioning, longer typically than the then-expected 15-year life for Hubble...

The integration and testing of the James Webb Space Telescope is on schedule for a nominal October 2018 launch, and recently its beautiful mirror assembly was revealed in the clean room. This means that we are now a year from the first open call for proposals for observing with Webb—namely the Early Release Science (ERS) program call—planned for May 2017...

The Frontier Fields program is the latest chapter in Hubble’s hallowed tradition of deep-field initiatives. This time, by combining deep Hubble imaging with gravitational lensing, astronomers have observed the faintest sources ever studied, even fainter than those revealed in the Ultra-Deep Field...

Exoplanet researchers are counting down the days until the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. Webb will transform our ability to unveil the atmospheres of planets transiting close to their parent stars. The community is in the process of developing tools, obtaining complementary observations, and planning for the first round of Webb observing proposals...

The JSTAC’s role, distilling its charge down to a key phrase, is to advise the Institute Director on “maximizing JWST’s scientific productivity” during its operational life. While this enunciation is simple and focused, the challenges during science operations for a mission of the complexity of JWST facing the partner agencies (NASA, ESA, and CSA) and the Institute, and an advisory committee like JSTAC, are similarly wide-ranging and complex...

Now in its 26th year of operations, Hubble is still going strong, producing science that continues to challenge and expand our understanding of the universe. From predicting supernovae, to finding the most distant spectroscopically confirmed galaxy, to detecting water vapor plumes above the surface of Europa, the breadth of Hubble’s science is vast and continues to grow...

The combination of UV capability, high-angular resolution, and large field of view afforded by the Hubble Space Telescope is the foundation of the Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS), GO-13364...

The past 5–10 years have seen major breakthroughs in our knowledge of exoplanet populations. With more than 1600 exoplanets detected by the Kepler mission, we know that our solar system is not unique in the universe, and that planets are actually relatively common: Two sun-like stars out of three have a planet smaller than Neptune within 0.75 AU, while every dwarf M star— which are much more numerous than stars like our Sun—hosts at least two planets within similar orbits...

In The Realm of Nebulae, Edwin Hubble wrote: “The history of astronomy is a history of receding horizons,” a quote which could not be more fitting to describe the story and the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope. During its 26 years in space, Hubble has steadily pushed our observational horizon to earlier and earlier cosmic times and transformed our view and understanding of how galaxies built up and evolved in the early universe...

For more than two decades, Hubble’s images have engaged the public and bolstered interest in science and astronomy. Scientists and the public alike have been inspired by the fundamental questions that are often triggered by Hubble discoveries: Where do we come from? Where we are going? Are we alone? The new exhibit, Our Place in Space, is designed to capture the spirit of wonder and inspiration generated when we pause to ponder humanity’s place in the grand scheme of the cosmos...

In 1980, a paper by D. W. Davies pointed out that a 2.4-meter telescope like Hubble could reasonably expect to detect an exoplanet in reflected light—provided that one could integrate sufficiently long to overcome the overwhelming background caused by a host star’s point spread function (PSF), the diffraction pattern of a telescope created by the shape of the primary mirror, the support structure/secondary mirror, and any pupil plane aberrations (Davies 1980)...

The Institute hosted a science workshop from October 5–7 2015 on Feedback in the Magellanic Clouds. This event focused on stellar and galactic feedback in two of our nearest dwarf-galaxy neighbors, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. It featured 75 registered participants, 32 posters, 13 invited talks, and a range of contributed talks and discussions...

Big data is everywhere, and astronomy is no exception. Our ability as a society to measure ever more about consumers, take ever more pictures, and send ever more messages has been mirrored in our ability to acquire ever more digital information about the cosmos. Experiments of the next decade like Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Square Kilometer Array are slated to ingest an unprecedented volume of astronomical data...

Data archiving is a crucial component of the operation of an astronomical observatory. Archives ensure the legacy of the observatory, and act as multipliers for its science output, by enabling science investigations unrelated to those in the proposals that obtained the data...

The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) got its formal start in February 2016, when NASA advanced it into the mission Formulation Phase, with launch aimed for the mid 2020s. This marked the completion of several years of pre-formulation work, capped by a successful Mission Concept Review in December 2015...

The Space Telescope Science Institute will be at the 228th AAS meeting in San Diego, California, with an exhibit booth showcasing the missions we support for the science community, several technical presentations in instrument sessions, a wide variety of science presentations, and press releases. Come see what's new! ...