On November 17, 1998, the HST pointing will be restricted as a precaution against potential meteoroid hits during the Leonid storm. The restriction is a 1 degree radius surrounding RA = 331.2, Dec = -23.4 (J2000) [22h 04m 48s, -23d 24' (J2000)]. While the telescope will remain operable during this time, the pointing restrictions are severe and will apply to several orbits amounting to an equivalent of about 220 minutes of useful observation time. There are no active HST prime or pending observing programs which meet this pointing restriction. Because this restriction was only recently decided by the HST project, there is insufficient time to solicit and review proposals in a normal manner.
We are, therefore, assigning this period to Director's Discretionary Time, and are soliciting ideas on a very fast track. If you have a good scientific idea for observations in this narrow region, we would be pleased to have your input. Submit your idea as a short statement outlining the basic science and observational approach using the Web page for Director's Discretionary Time. Illustrations and extensive references are not required. All ideas must be submitted via the above WWW form by 8pm EDT 30 September 1998. Following an internal review by our staff, the Director will decide how to make best scientific use of this time. This may involve combining several of the suggestions received. STScI staff will follow up by requesting more details as necessary to put together the Phase II proposal by October 12.
Because of the nature of this solicitation, STScI plans to gather the data, process them using the normal instrument pipelines, and make them publicly available in the archive immediately. There will be no proprietary data rights and no special grant funding opportunity.
Several restrictions will apply. As the orbits during this timeframe are impacted by the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA), the STIS MAMAs cannot be used. Because of the short time scale, any proposals should be very easy to implement. Additional details on the anticipated pointing and observing restrictions are available.
All ideas must be submitted via the Director's Discretionary WWW form by 8pm EDT 30 September 1998 to provide time for selection and preparation of the Phase II observing program.
Steven Beckwith, Director
Space Telescope Science Institute
September 15, 1998