HST Special Initiatives

STScI especially seeks proposals that fall into one of several "Special Initiatives," described below. These initiatives highlight the unique science capabilities possessed by HST.

Ultraviolet Initiative

Ultraviolet GO Proposals

In recognition of the unique UV capabilities of Hubble and the finite lifetime of the mission, the UV Initiative will continue in Cycle 32. The initiative uses orbit allocations to increase the share of primary GO observing time dedicated to UV observations. A description of past programs is available on the HST UV Initiative Programs webpage.

Both the review panels and the TAC will have UV orbit allocations, which are advisory, not quotas, and UV proposals recommended for acceptance must meet the usual requirement of high scientific quality set for all successful Hubble proposals. Very Small, Small, Medium, Large, and Treasury GO Proposals can benefit from the UV Initiative, in Cycle 32, as can Archival Proposals. Two conditions must be met for a GO Proposal to be eligible.

• The proposal must use the UV capabilities of Hubble. The eligible instrument modes (with central wavelength <3200 Angstroms) are ACS/SBC imaging (all filters), COS (all modes), STIS/MAMA spectroscopy and imaging (all gratings and filters), STIS/CCD spectroscopy (UV gratings only), and WFC3/UVIS imaging (UV filters F200LP, F300X, F218W, F225W, F275W, FQ232N, FQ243N, and F280N), and WFC3/UVIS G280 grism spectroscopy.

• The UV observations must be essential to the proposed science investigation. This condition will automatically be met for proposals requesting UV observations only. For proposals requesting both UV and optical/IR observations, the scientific necessity for the UV observations must be carefully justified in the Scientific Justification of the proposal.

Proposers must check the UV Initiative box in APT to identify whether their proposal qualifies for the benefit based on the above criteria.

Ultraviolet Archival Proposals

The UV Initiative also extends to Archival Proposals in the Legacy AR category. STScI will ask the review panels and the TAC to give particular consideration to UV-specific archival proposals in the review process, provided they lead to UV high level data products and tools for the Hubble archive, and enable broader use of those datasets by the community, or (in the case of Theory Proposals) provide new models or theories to aid in the interpretation of UV HST data.

For Archival Programs that propose the joint analysis of UV and optical/IR datasets, the UV datasets must be essential to the scientific investigation for the UV Initiative benefit to apply. In this case, the proposers should carefully justify the importance of the UV component of their program in the Special Requirements section of the proposal.

AR proposers should check the "UV Initiative" box in APT to identify their proposal as eligible for the benefit.

Fundamental Physics with HST

Over the past decades, Hubble has played a crucial role in probing parameters relevant to fundamental physics and cosmology. Given that heritage, the STScI Director constituted a working group to explore the intersection between Hubble’s capabilities and the scientific priorities in fundamental physics research and to provide advice on future strategies for implementing appropriate observing programs with HST. The working group’s report highlights a number of areas where they believe HST can make significant contributions in the near future.

STScI encourages the community to submit proposals that address questions in fundamental physics, particularly with regard to the science areas highlighted by the Fundamental Physics Working Group. Those proposals can be for observations (GO), archival research (AR) or theoretical investigations related to HST observations (AR Theory). The proposals will be reviewed by experts in the appropriate field.

Proposers must check the "Fundamental Physics" box in APT to identify whether their proposal qualifies for this initiative.

Report of the Working Group on Fundamental Physics with HST [PDF]

HST-TESS Exoplanet Initiative

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has discovered a wide range of planetary systems, notably small exoplanets (mini-neptunes and super-earths) around nearby stars.  The HST-TESS Advisory Committee was constituted by the STScI Director to provide guidance on optimal strategies for maximizing the scientific return from HST observations of TESS exoplanet targets. Following extensive consultation with the community, the HST-TESS AC final report highlights the vital role that HST can play in characterizing small exoplanets and identifying high priority targets for subsequent JWST observations.

Specifically, the committee noted that to maximize the science return, it is crucial that TESS targets have well determined periods and masses. Proceeding in a linear fashion, however, will lead to significant delays in obtaining follow-up HST observations of sufficient systems. Moreover, working on a target-by-target, proposal-by-proposal basis is unlikely to optimally sample the exoplanet population. Based on those considerations, the Space Telescope Users Committee has recommended the HST-TESS Exoplanet Initiative (HTEI) to provide the community with an opportunity to propose for observations of a well-characterized, representative sample.

Exoplanet Initiative proposals should

  • Focus on mini-neptunes and super-earths
  • Be sufficiently comprehensive in scope to address demographic questions
  • Characterize the atmospheric properties as a function of size and equilibrium temperature
  • Lay the foundations for subsequent observations with JWST

HST-TESS Exoplanet Initiative programs are Treasury programs and must meet the requirements for those programs. They are anticipated as long period (multi-cycle) programs that can capitalize quickly on the ongoing characterization of TESS exoplanet discoveries. The HST-TESS AC also recommended strong community participation in these programs, particularly with regard to target selection.

All HTEI exoplanet targets must have reliable mass determinations. Since an appropriately characterized sample of TESS targets is not available at the present time, HTEI proposals should identify specific targets that could be observed in Cycle 32 but may list generic targets for future cycles. The proposal must specify the quantitative criteria (such as mass, density and separation) that will be used to define the full sample. In addition, the proposals must describe appropriate mechanisms for building community consensus on how new targets will be added in future cycles.

HTEI programs will be assessed by the TAC along with other Large, Treasury and Legacy programs. There is no specific orbit allocation for this initiative.

HTEI proposals must conform with the dual anonymous guidelines.

Next: HST Observation Types