A Look into Our Process
The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) news team creates and disseminates news and photo releases covering scientific advancements made using the Hubble Space Telescope to news organizations worldwide, which use them to build their own coverage in television broadcasts, print publications, and online services. After its launch, our work will also include research using data from the James Webb Space Telescope.
We actively engage journalists by answering questions, providing context, and explaining the importance of the science. Astronomical discoveries are often dense with unfamiliar concepts, complex ideas, and highly technical details, which is why interaction between our news staff, astronomers, and members of the media is essential for our news to accurately and effectively reach the public.
Dive into the Imagery
News gathering begins when members of our team speak to one or more scientists about their research. Based on that conversation, one of our science writers crafts a news release that describes their findings and implications in an engaging and accessible way. Additional team members develop visuals to accompany the release and help explain the results. These images are produced from astronomical data, and maximize aesthetic value while preserving scientific validity.
Graphic artists design illustrations, diagrams, and informational graphics to help make abstract concepts more understandable. Visualization specialists translate astronomy data, images, and computer simulations into motion graphics, 3-D models, and movie sequences to help viewers understand the structure and dynamic processes behind the telescope images.
All release materials are developed in collaboration with astronomers—both those involved with the discovery and on our own outreach team—to ensure that the explanations and visuals relate the science accurately. In addition, NASA and STScI policy requires that the science results be reported in a peer-reviewed scientific paper or at a professional conference, such as an American Astronomical Society meeting, before a release based on those results is issued. STScI news staff also collaborates with the Hubble project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Headquarters, consulting scientists at STScI, and public affairs offices of scientists’ professional institutions to coordinate releases among the organizations.