Newsworthy Results from Hubble Space Telescope

C. Christian, carolc[at], R. Villard, villard[at], C. Pulliam, cpulliam[at], C. Gundy, gundy[at] and the STScI News Team

The Hubble Space Telescope is a unique and powerful research facility for probing the most important questions about the universe. The wide capabilities of the telescope enable researchers to explore topics from the solar system and nearby stars to the outer reaches of the cosmos. As evidence of its success, more than 17,000 refereed science papers are in circulation based on Hubble data, with an annual rate that has risen to over 1,000 per year. To leverage this great success and share discoveries with the general public, STScI has an experienced News Team to showcase research highlights, through the NASA and ESA communications channels.

The STScI News Team supports scientists who come forward with newsworthy results based on Hubble Space Telescope data. The NASA policy is to disseminate discoveries to the public about the findings derived from Hubble and other publicly funded missions. NASA news distribution is quite extensive and draws substantial attention. To put HST research in a good position for NASA attention, the News Team must be alerted as soon as practical by a member of the science team, and urges scientists not to post results on Astro-ph, which can compromise the creation of a news release. The news media is quite savvy in finding stories online, before the NASA release is issued, so we have a confidential production mechanism. The full process and submission form is described in the Post Observation area of the HST Mission website.

post observation banner

News package production involves creation of text and multimedia materials, requiring significant preparation time and iterations with the science team before publication. Release assembly further involves reviews at several levels of NASA which the News Team coordinates on behalf of the science team. Learn more about the method and procedures for press release creation at the STScI/HST web link above. The most recent public releases of HST data are available at the HST news center.