The Joy of Hubble

Ok, so it is five proposals, not four…
Three are in, one should be heading off any minute now, eh?
And the last seemed to be in good shape. Could actually be done an hour or two early.

Must resist temptation to go back and “fix” any of the “done” proposals… it just causes trouble.

Hey, who got the highest GO number? We were at ~ 400 at about 3 pm, with five hours till the deadline!

For the uninitiate, today is the deadline for Hubble Space Telescope proposals.
These are primarily observing proposals, although there will also be a number of archival and legacy proposals which mine existing data and datasets. There is an increasing number of these, and much more that could be done if there were more resources. A tiny fraction of the proposals will be “theory” proposals, proposing to do modeling or analysis relevant to Hubble observations, but not directly working on specific current data or archival data.

Hubble is in a funny state right now – it, along with most other high end telescopes, usually spends much of its time doing spectroscopy. The beautiful images that receive the publicity are generally a minor part of the scientific activity, although the Hubble does have unique capabilties in high spatial resolution optical and near ultra-violet imaging, and in doing high precision relative astrometry.

But, right now there are no spectrographs operating on the HST, there is a tiny residual capability using imaging GRISM modes (where each picture is basically taken through a prism giving a “rainbow image”, which provides a low resolution multi-object spectroscopic capability). Until the Cosmic Orgin Spectrograph is installed, and the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph electronics repaired on the upcoming repair and refurbishment mission, we hope, imaging is it.

Fortunately, the Advanced Camera for Surveys is operational, fingers crossed (there are occasions when it is ok to be superstitious, knock on wood), and it is gorgeous.
So, like, hand out loads of time.
The Near Infrared Camera is also rather nifty, but a bit dated and it has a small field of view.Still has some uses.

So, dear TAC, give us an allocation or two…!!!

In the meantime, the general community can look forward to a year or two of a serious crop of pretty pictures as the ACS goes wild taking snapshots. Then it is back to spectra.


  1. #1 Brad Holden
    January 26, 2007

    554 was Garth’s. I have not heard from one yet. Hopefully, I am one that is much higher.

  2. #2 Pat Durrell
    January 26, 2007

    Yup…glad that is all over! Now back to our regularly scheduled programming, eh

  3. #3 Caryl Gronwall
    January 26, 2007

    #697 at 7:51 pm EST. I’m betting someone can top it though!

  4. #4 Steinn Sigurdsson
    January 26, 2007

    I was expecting people to break 1000!
    700 is like almost reasonable odds, unless of course everyones asked for 1000 orbits or something silly.

  5. #5 Julianne
    January 27, 2007

    I’d bet a lot of people are in a holding pattern waiting for the servicing mission.

    Any theories about whether it’s better or worse to be at the end of the stack?

    If you’re near the end:
    Option 1: “God I’m so sick of reading proposals. No orbits for you!”.
    Option 2: “God I’m so sick of reading proposals. Hey! Finally one that doesn’t irritate me! Thanks so much for not being sucky! Let me give you orbits!”

    But if you’re at the beginning:
    Option 1: “I seem to have a vague recollection that I read something kind of decent about 200 proposals ago. I wonder what it was…oh well.”
    Option 2: “None of these other proposals have measured up to that first glorious proposal. I remain true to my first love, and bestow orbits upon it.”

  6. #6 JohnD
    January 27, 2007

    Well, I put in a low 321–but it was recycled, so to speak. And I seriously doubt that the TAC receives these things in order of submission. This was the first year I think where they told me the proposal printed successfully before the deadline had passed…

  7. #7 Brad Holden
    January 27, 2007

    730 is the highest I know of, and it went it very late.

    Didn’t Steinn work out that, since the loss of spectroscopy on HST, proposals are down?

    This will mean that things could get very exciting if COS and STIS are both working.

  8. #8 Julianne
    January 27, 2007

    This will mean that things could get very exciting if COS and STIS are both working.

    Where “very exciting” = “almost impossible to get time”. WFC3 is also pretty kick-ass, so imaging proposals will be up as well. My prediction is 1400+ proposals, post-servicing.

  9. #9 Steinn Sigurdsson
    January 27, 2007

    Sounds as if we only had about 750 proposals this year, assuming my co-I cut things as fine as they are likely to have…
    When I were a lad, we used to get a thousand, easy.

    ‘course back then no GO proposal got over 100 orbits, nowadays there are people grabbing hundreds of orbits each!

  10. #10 Drake Milton
    January 28, 2007

    Speaking of telescopes… I just listened to a podcast about balloon-borne telescope that was launched in Antarctica– pretty cool.

  11. #11 Lubos Motl
    January 29, 2007

    Advanced Camera for Surveys is operational? Shouldn’t you revise this article? 😉

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