Now You Can See Exactly Where Hubble and JWST are Pointed

Hubble and JWST are busily scanning the sky, sending home enormous amounts of data. They shift from target to target, completing the required observations.

But have you ever wondered what those two space telescopes are doing right at this moment? Now, you can do just that at the new Space Telescope Live website. It will show you what each observatory is scanning, where the objects are in the sky, and what researchers hope to learn. You can even go back or forward in time and see what each telescope has been looking at in the past or what observations are coming up.

A screenshot of JWST observations shown on the Space Telescope Live website on March 7, 2024.

NASA says that this exploratory tool offers the public “a straightforward and engaging way to learn more about how astronomical investigations are carried out.” You can also find out more about the science instruments, review each research proposal, and click through the entire catalog of past Hubble and JWST observations.

The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland is the science operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as the science operations and mission operations center for the James Webb Space Telescope. STScI says information about each observation on the new website, such as target name and coordinates, scheduled start and end times, and the research topic, are pulled directly from the observation scheduling and proposal planning databases kept at the Institute. Links within the tool direct users to the original research proposal, which serves as a gateway to more technical information.

All the information for observations from approved science programs is kept in a repository called the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes. The Space Telescope Live website offers easy access to this information. The entire catalog of past observations for JWST goes back to its first commissioning targets in January 2022, and Hubble observing records go all the way back to the beginning of its operations in May 1990.

Each webpage has a menu and search feature at the top of the page and a user guide can be found at the bottom of each page.