Vision, Mission, Goals & Deliverables

The Hubble Space Telescope has undoubtedly had a greater public impact than any other space astronomy mission ever. The images […] are quite staggering in what they reveal about the Universe we live in and have already become part of our common scientific and cultural heritage.

Malcolm Longair


To excel in science communication and stay a powerhouse in the field especially within the areas of visual science communication, popular science writing and innovative knowledge management.


  • To serve the community of astronomers, journalists, teachers and laypeople with the best possible science communication products, as efficiently as possible, and adapt our strategies to suit the needs of the target group whenever needed
  • Increase the awareness of ESA
  • Inform about the (European) results from HST
  • Increase the awareness of astronomy and the scientific work process
  • Implement IYA2009
  • Increase the awareness of the IAU
  • Contribute towards strengthening the European and global astronomy communication community


Objectives & Deliverables







1. Publish and distribute world-class news/photo releases and vodcasts with European flavour per year.
  • ~15 News, photo and video releases on the web and in printed form.
2. Develop and maintain the necessary web sites to support the HEIC mission, including a complete user-friendly archive of Hubble outreach material in optimal resolution and quality.
  • Number of web sites
  • Number of web archives and items in them: images, videos, brochures etc.
3. Rapid response hotline to requests from media, scientists, educators and public
  • Number of requests
  • Request response time.
4. Coordinate and implement the IYA2009 programme: Support  SPoCs, task groups, astronomy community, media and society in IYA2009 related issues
  • Main IYA2009 Website
  • Number of National and Organisational  SPoCs
  • Number of Organisational Associates
  • Number of global events
  • Number of cornerstones
  • Number of Sponsors
  • Number of requests
  • Request response time.
  • Number of products: brochures, newsletters, design kits etc.
5. Run the IAU Press Office
  • Number or press releases
  • Number of web pages etc.
  • Number of journalists at the GA



6. Support Space Telescope-European Coordinating Facility activities.
  • Number of products: newsletters, scientists’ posters, web sites, logos etc.
7. Train and publish: Be a recognized science communication training facility for students, other communicators and for scientists.
  • Number of students trained.
  • Number of science communicators trained.
  • Number of scientists trained.
  • Number of reports and scientific publications in science communication and visualization journals.
8. Explore and develop innovative groundbreaking astronomy communication techniques and tools, especially with respect to visualization, information retrieval and interconnectivity.
  • Number and quality of visualization techniques developed (3D, 2D etc.).
  • Image quality.
  • Time from raw data to final image.
  • Number and quality of S/W tools developed (Photoshop plug-ins, web systems etc.).
9. Be one of the main actors in selected IYA2009 Global Cornerstone Projects
  • Number of IYA2009 Global Cornerstone Projects carried out
  • Number of participants
  • Number of products


10. Be one of the main actors in the worldwide coordination of astronomy communication through the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for instance by developing technical standards for science communication, standards for best practice in science communication.
  • IAU support
  • IAU websites.
  • IAU repositories.
  • WGCAP progress reports.
  • List of standards, lists of best practices
11. Educational projects.
  • Number of exercises and other materials for teachers.
  • Number of teacher’s trained.
12. Exhibitions.
  • Number of exhibitions done in-house.
  • Number of exhibitions done with external partners.
13. Special products development.
  • Number of products: DVDs, non-news animations, fulldome animations, art exhibits, posters, postcards..
14. Support European Virtual Observatory (EURO-VO) and International Virtual Observatory Alliance activities.
  • Number of web sites, tools, hand-outs etc.


World-class abilities

One of our artist's impressions.

A 3d model of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Our office is internationally known for parts of our production and for the way we operate with limited resources:

  • Home of the Hubblecast, the most popular video podcasts about the Hubble Space Telescope and the science related to it
  • Home of the International Year of Astronomy secretariat
  • Home of the International Astronomical Union press office
  • Producer for and coordinator of ESA's Hubble 15th Anniversary Campaign (incl. the record-breaking DVD movie, the Hubble Day events and the book)
  • Home of the ESA/ESO/NASA Photoshop FITS Liberator (more than 75,000 downloads as in September 2007)
  • Our artist’s impressions
  • Our 3D model quality
  • Initiators of the IAU Working Group Communicating Astronomy (with Dennis Crabtree and Ian Robson)
  • Our pipeline optimisation/Return on Investment:
    • Our reaction speed to requests
    • The way we use our manpower strategically
    • Our efficiency, for instance
      • The amount of time we use on producing a broadcast video second, or
      • The time it takes us to make a finished PR image out of raw data from the telescope.
  • Our proactive distribution, for instance:
    • Our web system in general - complete, searchable, appealing …
    • The way we distribute broadcast quality video material on the web.
  • Home of VAMP, the Virtual Astronomy Multimedia Project, and the Astronomy Visualization Metadata Standard for the Virtual Observatory incl. the Astronomical Taxonomy for EPO use (w. R. Hurt, submitted to IVOA). Also related: Astronomical Outreach Imagery Metadata Tags for the Virtual Observatory
  • Home of "The Hands-On Guide for Science Communicators" (monograph, 300 pages, Springer NYC, 2007)

European-class abilities

Image reduced and composited from archive exposures.


In Europe our work is unique due to:

Accelerated by CDN77