sci16010 — Announcement
Cycle 24 Time Allocation Committee Highlights
12 October 2016
As it does every year in June, the Time Allocation Committee met. More than a hundred astronomers, representatives of a worldwide community of almost 7000, descended on Baltimore for a science-filled week, discussing, arguing and negotiating the most innovative and creative ideas that have been proposed to define Hubble’s scientific legacy. Antonella Nota, HST Project Scientist at STScI, participated as the ESA Observer.
The end result of this dense week is a complete and balanced science program that is presented to the Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute for final acceptance, and is quickly translated into commands to the observatory to fulfil the schedule for the following year.
The role of the ESA Observer, together with the NASA Observer, is to follow the process and validate its integrity and fairness, qualities that are the highest priorities for the STScI organizers. ESA supports the participation of a large contingent of European astronomers as part of the process: 29 astronomers from ESA member states were involved in the week long discussion this year, as panel members and panel chairs.
Their collective work started well before the meeting as they were asked to read and assess the many proposals submitted (1094 in Cycle 24). Divided into 15 panels, they then met for an intense three days to identify the best small and medium programs (<75 orbits) in their discipline. All panel Chairs stayed for two additional days to discuss the large proposals and to produce the overall science programme for the upcoming year. At the end, 245 proposals were accepted, totaling 3760 awarded orbits, which started executing in October at the beginning of Cycle 24.
For ESA member state PIs, this was an extraordinarily successful cycle, with a record number of orbits allocated: 36% of the available total and 26% of the proposals.
ESA HST Project Scientist, STScI
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