NASA’s Space Telescope Live: A Window into the Cosmos

NASA’s Hubble and James Webb space telescopes have been making groundbreaking discoveries in the field of astronomy, and now, with the help of NASA’s Space Telescope Live web application, anyone can find out what these telescopes are observing at any given moment. The tool, developed by the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, provides real-time updates on the targets being studied by both Hubble and Webb.

The redesigned user interface and expanded functionality of the web application allow users to explore the cosmos alongside NASA’s astronomers. Users can discover the specific planet, star, nebula, galaxy, or region of deep space each telescope is observing, along with the exact location of these targets in the sky. The tool also provides information on the scientific instruments being used, the duration of the observations, the status of the observation, the lead researcher, and the scientific objectives of the study.

NASA’s Space Telescope Live offers easy access to this information – not only the current day’s targets, but the entire catalog of past observations as well – with Webb records dating back to its first commissioning targets in January 2022, and Hubble records all the way back to the beginning of its operations in May 1990.

The zoomable sky map, developed using the Aladin Sky Atlas, provides context for the observations using imagery from ground-based telescopes. While real-time imagery is not available due to the necessary processing and analysis of the data, the tool pulls details such as target name and coordinates, scheduled start and end times, and the research topic directly from the observation scheduling and proposal planning databases.

The team behind NASA’s Space Telescope Live is already planning additional enhancements based on user feedback to provide opportunities for deeper exploration and understanding. The web application is designed to work on both desktop and mobile devices and is accessible via NASA’s official Hubble and Webb websites.

As the James Webb Space Telescope continues to solve mysteries in our solar system and beyond, and the Hubble Space Telescope enters its fourth decade of ground-breaking discoveries, NASA’s Space Telescope Live offers the public an engaging way to learn more about these incredible observatories and the astronomical investigations they enable.


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