STScI Outreach for HST 30th Anniversary

B. Lawton (lawton[at], L. Bordeaux (lbordeaux[at], C. Slivinski (slivinski[at], and J. Maple (jmaple[at]

April 24, 2020, marks Hubble's 30th anniversary. To honor this milestone year, STScI's Office of Public Outreach (OPO) is sharing the successes of Hubble's scientific accomplishments, the promise of Hubble's future, and the tremendous work Hubble has done to lay the groundwork for future NASA space-based missions. Listed in this article are three examples of the types of engagement OPO is leading for this anniversary year: online engagement with HubbleSite, a series of events across the country, and a special 30th anniversary exhibit.

Exhibit for Dulles airport

Online engagement with HubbleSite

On February 24th, OPO launched a special Hubble 30th Anniversary website section, reachable through the blue "Celebrate With Us" button on HubbleSite's homepage.   

The section opens with a Hubble 30th landing page with highlights including a video montage and links to four subsections: a "Hubble's Exciting Universe" series of articles, a gallery of iconic images, anniversary events, and varied resource materials.

The video montage showcases over 600 Hubble images, organized in a stunning dance of imagery augmented by original music and story adding to the emotional impact of the video.

"Hubble's Exciting Universe" encapsulates several of Hubble's top areas of revolutionary research over the past 30 years and puts them into a broader scientific context. Some of the research areas were identified when the telescope launched, but the majority were complete surprises where Hubble scientists leveraged upgrades to the observatory to pursue unexpected new frontiers, such as characterizing exoplanets and probing dark energy.

Images, Events, and Resources provide information and materials focused on the anniversary. The Images section currently displays 30 iconic Hubble images, including the image for Hubble's 30th birthday, April 24th 2020. The Events section aggregates anniversary events from around the country. The Resources section has downloadable materials and is divided into Exhibit Materials, Posters, and Event Materials to be used for Hubble celebrations. Additional analytics tracking has been put on the website to assist with measuring the effectiveness of individual assets.

Stop by HubbleSite to visit Hubble's 30th Anniversary website section where we showcase the telescope's achievements over the past 30 years and offer a glimpse of possible new discoveries as Hubble continues to deliver great science.

resources for Hubble's 30th celebration

Map showing unveiling sitesHST 30th National image unveiling

In the fall of 2019, STScI solicited applications from across the United States to participate in a national unveiling of the Hubble 30th Anniversary image. Over 180 applications were received from organizations both large and small, rural, suburban, and urban; from that pool of applications, 74 locations representing all 50 states were selected to receive a large Anniversary Image vinyl banner (7.5 ft. w × 5.5 ft. h), which would be unveiled to the public in free events on April 24, 2020. A similar effort was undertaken by ESA to support events across Europe.

However, the original plans to host unveiling events on April 24 were upended by the arrival of the coronavirus. STScI (and ESA) are working with the unveiling organizations to encourage online virtual events and, if deemed safe by local authorities, in-person events later in the year. Additional activities and other alternative ways to showcase the anniversary image are also being encouraged, to allow the public to engage with Hubble and its decades of scientific discovery. A map of the 74 selected locations is found on HubbleSite's Anniversary Events page.


HST 30th Anniversary exhibit at Dulles

STScI completed the design of a Hubble and James Webb exhibit to be installed within a glass vitrine at the Washington Dulles International Airport in the baggage claim. The exhibit design appears at the top of this article. This visually stunning exhibit will include Hubble 30th graphics and messaging, a digital slide show highlighting Hubble science, and a look forward to future Hubble and James Webb science. STScI will be able to update the digital slide show from Baltimore as Hubble and Webb make future discoveries. The installation of the vitrine is currently scheduled for later this year, but is dependent on the status of COVID-19.