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Demand to use the Hubble and James Webb space telescopes remains high.

About This Article

In 2023, researchers from around the world applied for observing time to use NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Like recent years, astronomers’ applications exceeded the amount of time available. Investigators who were awarded time to observe with the telescopes were invited to submit proposals to receive support for their research. Researchers went on to publish more than 1,000 peer-reviewed papers using Hubble data, and almost 400 peer-reviewed papers using Webb data. 

Oversubscription Ratios

Hubble Space Telescope

Line chart shows the oversubscription cycle from cycle one through cycle 31. The y-axis is labeled “Oversubscription Ratio” and the x-axis is labeled “Cycle.” Along the y-axis, tick marks denote increments of two, starting at 0 in the lower left corner and ending at 14 at the top. The cycle numbers are evenly spaced across the x-axis, starting with 1 at left and ending at 31 at right. Three jagged lines run across. Blue represents HST Proposal, orange is GO Hours, and yellow is AR Funding. Starting at left, the orange line begins just above 8 on the y-axis, the blue line begins around 5, and the yellow line starts around 1. Each line has various valleys and peaks, though the lines are broadly similar in overall trend. The orange tends to be the highest, followed by blue, and then yellow. All three lines share a sharp peak around Cycle 26, with the blue and orange lines extending beyond 12 on the y-axis, and the yellow just above 10. The lines then decrease and increase again around Cycles 30 and 31.
For over 30 years, astronomers have requested more time than is available to observe with Hubble each year. GO indicates general observer and AR refers to archival.

James Webb Space Telescope

Line chart shows the oversubscription cycle from cycle one through cycle three. The y-axis is labeled “Oversubscription Ratio” and the x-axis is labeled “Cycle.” Along the y-axis, tick marks are evenly spaced and start at 0 in the lower left corner and end at 10 at the top. The cycle numbers are evenly spaced across the x-axis, starting with 1 at left and ending at 3 at right. Three lines run across. Blue represents GO Proposals, orange is GO Hours, and yellow is AR Funding. Starting at left, the orange and blue lines begin just above 4 on the y-axis, while the yellow line starts just below. Each line is relatively smooth, and the orange and blue lines are broadly similar in overall trend. The orange tends to be the highest, followed by blue, and then yellow. All three lines steadily increase from Cycle 1 to Cycle 2. From Cycle 2 to Cycle 3, the yellow line steadily decreases to just below 4 on the y-axis while the orange and blue lines continue to increase and end around 9 on the y-axis.
Since its launch in 2021, researchers have applied for more time than is available to observe with Webb. GO indicates general observer and AR refers to archival.


Distributed Grant Funds

Hubble Space Telescope

Line chart shows grant funds from 1989 to 2023 in millions of dollars. The y-axis is labeled “Millions ($)” and the x-axis is labeled “Fiscal Year.” Along the y-axis, tick marks denote increments of 10, starting at 0 in the lower left corner and ending at 40 at the top. Years are evenly spaced across the x-axis, starting with 1989 at left and ending at 2023 at right. The line chart has valleys and peaks, though generally trends upward, exceeding $10 million in 1992, $25 million in 2004, $30 million in 2015, and $35 million in 2023.
Over Hubble’s history, the institute has distributed grant funds to support researchers who were awarded time to observe with the telescope.

James Webb Space Telescope

Line chart shows grant funds from 2019 to 2023 in millions of dollars. The y-axis is labeled “Millions ($)” and the x-axis is labeled “Fiscal Year.” Along the y-axis, tick marks denote increments of 10, starting at 0 in the lower left corner and ending at 30 at the top. Years are evenly spaced across the x-axis, starting with 2019 at left and ending at 2023 at right. The line begins below $5 million from 2019 to 2021, before increasing to just below the $10 million mark in 2022. In 2023, the line reaches just above $20 million.
Since 2019, the institute has distributed grant funds to support researchers who were awarded time to observe with Webb.


Peer-Reviewed Publications

Hubble Space Telescope

Graph shows increasing publications based on archival, general observer data, and a mix from 1991 to 2023. The y-axis is labeled “Number of Papers” and the x-axis is labeled “Year of Publication.” Click View Description for additional details.
Researchers have published thousands of articles based on Hubble data since the 1990s. In 2023, astronomers published more than 1,000 peer-reviewed papers using Hubble’s observations. Part indicates a combination of archival and general observer data, AR refers to archival data, and GO indicates general observer data.
HST Peer-Reviewed Publications

Graph shows increasing publications based on general observer (GO) data, archival data (AR), a mix (Part), and none from 1991 to 2023. The y-axis is labeled “Number of Papers” and the x-axis is labeled “Year of Publication.” Along the y-axis, tick marks denote increments of 200, starting with 0 in the lower left corner and ending at 1,200 at the top. Along the x-axis, tick marks denote each year starting with 1991 at left and ending in 2023 at right. The height for each year varies but generally trends upward. In the mid-1990s, publications exceeded 200 papers. In the early 2000s, papers regularly exceeded 600 per year. In recent years, papers have generally exceeded 1,000 per year. Each line is made up of various colors that represent the types of data in the peer-reviewed publications for that year. Green is Part, yellow is AR, orange is GO, and blue represents None. Until the early 2000s, GO data was the most prominent data source, followed by AR data. In the mid-2000s, AR data became the most prominent data source, followed by GO data.

James Webb Space Telescope

Graph shows publications based on archival (AR) data, general observer (GO) data, and a mix (Part) in 2022 and 2023. The y-axis is labeled “Number of Papers” and the x-axis is labeled “Years of Publication.” Papers in 2022 exceeded 50. Papers in 2023 almost met 400. The data in each line are represented by colors. Green is part, yellow is AR, and orange represents GO. 2022 shows a fairly even mix of AR and GO, with a sliver of Part at the bottom. 2023 shows a bulk of GO, followed by a significant portion of AR, and a slightly larger sliver in green.
In 2022, researchers using Webb’s data published just over 50 papers. In 2023, the number jumped to almost 400 published peer-reviewed papers. Part indicates a combination of archival and general observer data, AR refers to archival data, and GO indicates general observer data.