sci16002 — Announcement

Your representatives on the Space Telescope Users Committee

9 March 2016

Three members of the Space Telescope User Committee (STUC) are currently appointed by ESA: Stephane Charlot (France), Søren Larsen (The Netherlands) and David Sing (UK). They each bring unique scientific expertise and they all want to hear from you.

David Sing is an Associate Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Exeter. His speciality is atmospheric characterization of transiting exoplanets. As exoplanet observations have played an ever increasing important role in Hubble’s overall science programme, Ken Sembach, Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) Director, formed an Advisory Committee to explore the priorities in exoplanet research and provide advice for implementing an exoplanet science programme with Hubble. The committee, of which David is part, is chaired by Professor Drake Deming.

The committee has asked for input from the community, and is reviewing the evolution of Hubble usage by the exoplanet community. It is investigating mechanisms to coordinate Hubble observations with the priorities of the exoplanet science community and identifying key observations for HST legacy science and preparation of JWST. The exoplanet Advisory Committee is due to summarise its conclusions in a report in early 2016.

I strongly encourage Hubble users to contact me in advance of STUC meetings, especially European and exoplanet users” writes David. “STScI is an exemplary organisation that really does want to do the best job it can do for all of its Hubble users. Do you want better calibration for a particular instrument? Is there a tool you’d like to see that would make things easier for you? Is there a problem with the TAC process? Over the last several years I’ve seen the STUC deal with all of these issues and more, and seeing progress made is encouraging.

Søren Larsen from the Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands, has a long standing connection with Hubble, which he has used extensively to study stellar clusters. Following post-docs at Lick Observatory and the European Southern Observatory (ESO) he was an instrument scientist at the Space Telescope – European Coordinating Facility (ST–ECF) in Garching, Germany from 2004-2006. Here he supported the spectroscopic modes of ACS (and the yet-to-be-installed WFC3) and experimented first hand with supporting Hubble users. Søren is now at Radboud University in Nijmegen where he continues his research on massive clusters.

It is a great pleasure to serve on the STUC”, writes Søren. “The STUC can have a considerable influence on important decisions that affect HST users and it is my experience that its recommendations are generally taken very seriously. I would very much welcome any feedback from my colleagues regarding their experience with HST and I encourage anyone to contact me about issues they would like to be raised by the STUC.

Stephane Charlot is the most recently appointed STUC member. He is a Senior Researcher of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) at the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris (IAP). He obtained his PhD in 1992 from the University of Paris and has been a member of the Space Telescope Science Institute, the University of California at Berkeley, Kitt Peak National Observatory, and the Max-Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany. He is an expert in galaxy evolution and cosmology, the spectral evolution of galaxies, star formation and the interstellar medium. He is currently Chairman of the CNRS Advisory Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics, member of the ESA JWST/NIRSpec instrument science team and holder of a European Research Council advanced grant.

Stephane feels strongly that “What will be important in the coming years is to operate the transition from the use of HST to that of JWST in the best possible way, using HST resources as much as possible to optimise the exploitation of JWST. For example, by making sure we get the short-wavelength coverage necessary to prepare for and best interpret JWST observations. At the same level, this is already happening, with the specific JWST initiative, mid-cycle proposals, and the encouragement for shorter HST proprietary time. A smooth transition is really what I hope we will help make happen.”

As they work hard on your behalf, they all want to hear from you – your feedback will greatly help them to shape the scientific legacy of Hubble and maximize the scientific output of this splendid mission in the years to come.



Søren Larsen
Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Stephane Charlot
Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, France

David Sing
College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences
University of Exeter, United Kingdom

About the Announcement



European members of the STUC
European members of the STUC

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