What are Hubble and Webb looking at right now?

Screenshot of the control panel of an app.
The Space Telescope Live webapp gives up-to-the-minute details about what the Hubble and Webb space telescopes are observing moment by moment. The site offers ground-based imagery of the targets, plus information about the observation program being supported. Via

Gazing at the cosmos over the shoulders of space telescopes

The Hubble Space Telescope and James Webb Space Telescope are NASA’s two giant telescopes in space. They’re operated by the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. These big eyes in the sky – located above Earth’s obscuring atmosphere – never stop exploring. All day long, on every day of the year that they’re not down for some sort of maintenance event, they’re looking outward from Earth, toward the cosmos.

Professional astronomers have to apply – and be accepted – for projects on these big space telescopes. If you’re curious about what astronomers looking at right now, using Hubble or the Webb, then good news! You can follow along as they search the skies for the next big discovery in astronomy at Space Telescope Live.

Attention astronomy enthusiasts! Are you looking for a way to show your support for astronomy education? Donate to here and help us bring knowledge of the night sky and our universe to people worldwide.

The website just got a major upgrade, and it couldn’t be simpler to use. Just click a button for the space scope of your choice and get all the insider information. You’ll learn …

What each telescope is looking at.
Where these targets are in the sky.
How the data are being gathered.
When the observations begin and end.
Who is leading the investigations.
Why each target is being investigated.

See what Hubble and Webb are seeing … sort of

For obvious reasons, STScI can’t stream imagery straight from space to your phone. Instead, it relies on Earth-side pictures:

The zoomable sky map centered on the target’s location was developed using the Aladin Sky Atlas, with imagery from ground-based telescopes to provide context for the observation. (Because the Hubble and Webb data must go through preliminary processing, and in many cases preliminary analysis, before being released to the public and astronomy community, real-time imagery is not available in this tool for either telescope.)

You get the raw data and some context too:

Information for observations from approved science programs is available via the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes. 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.

Shiny silver cylindrical spacecraft with large solar panels floating above Earth.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope orbits above Earth in this NASA image from April 1990. Hubble is still hard at work today, joined now by the James Webb Space Telescope. Detailed information about what the instruments are currently observing is now instantly available at Image via NASA.

Bottom line: The recently redesigned Space Telescope Live webapp gives up-to-the-minute information about what the Hubble and Webb space telescopes are observing.


Read more: Hubble watches spoke season in Saturn’s rings

Read more: Webb sees a cat’s tail in Beta Pictoris

March 10, 2024

Like what you read?
Subscribe and receive daily news delivered to your inbox.

Your email address will only be used for EarthSky content. Privacy Policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

More from 

Dave Adalian

View All