sci17004 — Announcement

Science with the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes V

18 May 2017

On 20 March, we have convened in Venice to host the 5th conference in the signature series Science with the Hubble Space Telescope. This time, the conference expanded to include the synergy with the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope. Hubble is still going strong, and is expected to remain a viable observatory well into 2022. Webb is planned to launch in the autumn of 2018, which offers a very exciting scientific opportunity with possibly several years of overlap between the two missions. As astronomers are preparing to use JWST to further their science, we felt it was very timely to dedicate this conference to both Hubble and Webb, and to how the community can best prepare to take immediate advantage of the amazing opportunities that will be presented. Almost 150 astronomers from all over the world attended, filling the ornate conference room of the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti with lively scientific discussions. The good weather and the attractive garden with a stunning view on the Grand Canal, provided additional incentives to continue the scientific conversations well after the sessions had ended.

Speakers were instructed to showcase their latest Hubble results, but also to discuss the further advances that will be made by Webb. They were encouraged to share their thoughts on how best to utilise the two missions in synergy, and they all did, offering detailed and quantitative strategies. As Danny Lennon (ESA) noted in his final remarks, the recurring theme across all scientific disciplines was the need to utilise both ultraviolet and infrared to characterise the properties of the objects studied, from extrasolar planetary systems, to star forming regions, to the furthest galaxies. A recurring plea was also the request to start planning for a super-Hubble, with UV-Optical-IR capabilities, but a much larger aperture.

Two discussion panels addressed topics that are very relevant to this community: the first, moderated by Jason Kalirai, asked the panel what are the challenges ahead for Webb and addressed the role played by international partnerships on large space missions. The consensus was that the international collaborations on both Hubble and Webb had been extremely successful and have paved the way for further collaborations in the future, and that broad collaborations are essential to realise the most ambitious goals that cannot be carried out by a nation or an agency alone. Meg Urry moderated the second panel, which took a hard look at the key science questions that will shape the next decade. Every panel member had the opportunity to choose and discuss their high priority quests, in a variety of astronomical fields. Meg finished with an intriguing question, asking the panel members: Why do we do what we do? This question become a persistent topic of conversation throughout the conference. Judging from the large attendance of John Mather‘s public lecture on JWST and the almost 30 000 people who visited the exhibition Our Place In Space in slightly more than two months, we do what we do to inspire, educate, and communicate the wonders of the cosmos to a broad audience that is thirsty for knowledge, and is equally motivated — as are professional astronomers — by the innate desire to explore and discover.

For additional details on this conference, the final science programme is posted here and the individual talks can be found here.

Notes

The Scientific Organizing Committee consisted of Antonella Nota (Co-Chair; European Space Agency/STScI), Pierre Ferruit (Co-Chair; European Space Agency), Neta Bahcall (Princeton University), Martin Barstow (University of Leicester), Francesco Bertola (Universita' di Padova), Roger Davies (University of Oxford), René Doyon (Université de Montréal), Annette Ferguson (Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh), Garth Illingworth (UCO/Lick Observatory), I. Neill Reid (STScI), Marco Sirianni (European Space Agency), Massimo Stiavelli (STScI), Monica Tosi (INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna), Jennifer Wiseman (NASA GSFC), Gillian Wright (UK Astronomy Technology Centre), Simone Zaggia (LOC Chair; Osservatorio di Padova)

Links

Contacts

Antonella Nota
ESA HST Project Scientist, STScI
Email: nota@stsci.edu

Pierre Ferruit
ESA JWST Project Scientist
Email: pierre.ferruit@esa.int

About the Announcement

Id:sci17004

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