Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes



The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is the home of the Hubble Space Telescope and the future James Webb Space Telescope. E/PO programs for the Hubble and Webb space telescopes are designed to bring the wonders of the universe to the general public and the formal and informal education communities, and engage our target audiences in the adventure of scientific discovery. The goals of the Hubble and Webb E/PO programs are:

Goal 1:

Develop and disseminate standards-based products that meet the needs of the education community and support the teaching of science, technology, and math.

Goal 2:

Design and implement standards-based professional development workshops that meet the needs of the education community, and enhance educators’ science content and pedagogical knowledge.

Goal 3:

Utilize a cost-effective approach by developing and maintaining partnerships that help us extend our impact, and reach large and diverse audiences.

Goal 4:

Bring Hubble and Webb technology, engineering, and science directly to the public. 

We accomplish our goals by partnering scientists with professional educators and outreach specialists, utilizing educational research, and employing rigorous evaluation techniques.
The Hubble E/PO program’s formal education activities include developing standards-based curriculum-support materials as well as pre- and in-service professional development.  Professional development workshops share cutting edge Hubble discoveries, fundamental STEM topics, and real-world connections with pre-service and in-service educators to prepare them to integrate current science into their classrooms. Informal education activities include developing exhibits designed to support informal science education programs and bring Hubble science to public audiences. The outreach component of the Hubble E/PO program includes inspire-level efforts, as defined by NASA’s Strategic Education Coordination Framework and SMD’s stated outreach objectives, with the goal of reaching a large number of people. We support community outreach events with standards-based, field-tested activities, promote public awareness of HST and its discoveries, and inform students about STEM careers.  This is supported by a Web presence for HST via the Hubblesite website.

The objective of the JWST E/PO program is to build upon the infrastructure and best practices established for the HST mission, and convey the scientific value and significance of the JWST mission to public and education audiences. Current JWST education activities include developing standards-based curriculum support materials, ViewSpace programming, professional development opportunities, and student programs. Current outreach activities for JWST include developing hardcopy and web-based support materials, and distributing information about JWST during key outreach and community STEM events.  This is supported by a Web presence for JWST via the James Webb Space Telescope website ( The focus of our efforts is building awareness of JWST among members of the public and the E/PO community, while focusing on the design and engineering of the observatory.  JWST science will become the primary focus after launch.

Read more about our program's strategic approach (PDF).

Lead Organization:

Space Telescope Science Institute




Strategic partnerships are pivotal to fulfilling the goal of having a national reach.  In order to have the greatest reach in a cost-effective manner, a key strategy for our programs has been to form strategic partnerships with other programs and organizations to reach new audiences and to integrate new techniques into our programs without reinventing or duplicating efforts. We use a top-down approach and work with colleges and universities, state education initiatives, school districts, and informal venues to ensure appropriateness, wide dissemination, and great impact. We also develop and maintain partnerships with industry, non-profit organizations, etc., that result in the creation of products and programs and their dissemination on a national scale.

We enter into partnerships based on specific criteria:

  • Does the institution complement the work we do?
  • Does the partner serve underserved/underrepresented populations, according to our NASA-approved Diversity Plan?
  • Does the partner demonstrate sustainability and can it carry on independently?
  • Does the partner collect follow-up data collection (summative evaluation) that it is willing to share with us?

Some partnerships are current and on-going, whereas others are project-based and last only for the life of a given project or activity. Examples of past and current partners include:

  • Organizations, such as National Federation for the Blind, Space Grant Consortia, American Library Association, World Wide Telescope, the Maryland Science Center,, the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, and the Ohio Resource Center for Mathematics, Science and Reading.
  • Universities, such as the Johns Hopkins University Center for Technology Education which will integrate our materials into the Boundless Learning Program for STEM;  University of California, Berkeley/Lawrence Hall of Science; and University of Texas at Austin.

To learn more about our partnerships, visit



Metrics for 2012


½ million teachers per year, 6 million students per year


INFORMAL EDUCATION (e.g., museums, libraries)

9 million people per year



24 million people per year



Over 100 million potential readers every two weeks



Effectiveness and Impact

Evaluation is critical for the development and revision of STScI E/PO resources and activities. As a result, OPO established a comprehensive evaluation plan in 1996 to confirm Hubble E/PO programs and resources are meeting mission goals. A comprehensive evaluation plan assesses both community needs and program impacts in appropriate and measurable ways. It includes both internal and external evaluation strategies, and formative and summative evaluations.  Evaluation strategies include: needs assessments, impact studies to determine material usage, student learning outcome studies, customer feedback via surveys and interviews, educational field-testing and classroom observation, and monitoring usage trends.

By analyzing evaluation results, reviewing current educational research, and staying abreast of the latest trends and best practices, we are able to design resources that meet the needs of both public and education audiences. In addition, this approach has allowed us to establish evidence-based practices in E/PO programming that will be applied to E/PO program development for the future James Webb Space Telescope.

Click here to see a list of evaluations conducted by consultants, the Office of Public Outreach, and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies.

Examples of evaluation findings include:

STScI Summary of The Hubble Space Telescope Education Program / Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach by Cornerstone Evaluation Associates LLC

Cornerstone Evaluations Associates LLC did a comprehensive review of STScI’s education program over the period 2000-2010. The purpose of the evaluation was: 1) to document over the past decade the growth and dissemination of the Education branch’s formal and informal programs as well as to demonstrate the impact and value of the branch’s work, 2) to provide evidence of the soundness of the strategies used to accomplish the branch’s work and its effectiveness as a team and 3) to broadly review findings and ‘lessons learned’ in order to provide direction for future undertakings. 

Key findings include: (1) OPO-Education branch has formed a growing number of productive partnerships and collaborations. (2) HST education program is award-winning and widely recognized for its quality. (3) The OPO-Education branch employs sound evaluation tools in developing and delivering its programs. 

See the full report (PDF)

STSCI Summary of a Study of the Effects of STScI’s Planet Impact Curriculum Final Evaluation Report by McREL

STScI requested evaluation services from Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL), an external, independent, and nationally recognized leader in educational research and evaluation. The evaluation used a quasi-experimental design with randomly assigned treatment and control groups to determine the effectiveness of the Planet Impact materials in eighth grade.

Key findings include: During the project period, treatment students using the Planet Impact materials demonstrated significant learning gains from pretest to posttest whereas the learning gains demonstrated by control students were not significant.

See the full report (PDF)

Adoption by State Departments of Education

The most important indicator of the impact of STScI’s education products is its widespread use and adoption by the formal education community. STScI materials are used in all 50 states. More than half the state Departments of Education use STScI materials as incorporated or recommended element.



STScI Refereed Papers

Bely, Pierre-Yves, Carol Christian, and Jean-Rene Roy, A Questions and Answers Guide to Astronomy, Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Christian, C.A. and G. Davidson, “The Science News Metrics,” In Organizations and Strategies in Astronomy 6, ed. A. Heck, 141, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2006.

Christian, C., “Creation of Educational Resources: A Research Scientist’s Role,” BioAstronomy 2002, IAU 213 (2002).

Christian, C., “Bringing Breakthroughs in Science Through Webcasting,” BioAstronomy 2002, IAU 213 (2002). 

Christian, C., B. Eisenhamer, J. Eisenhamer, and T. Teays, “Amazing Space: Creating Educational Resources from Current Scientific Research Results from the Hubble Space Telescope,” Journal of Science Education and Technology (2001).

Christian, C., B. Eisenhamer, and S. Kakadelis, “NPR Radio and Web Simulcasts: The Tour the Cosmos Series,” WebNet Journal Internet Technologies (2001).

Rest, Carole, Denise Smith, and Terry Teays, “NASA’s New Resource Directory,” Mercury, (July-August 2002): 15.

Smith, Denise, Bonnie Eisenhamer, Edna DeVore, and Luciana Bianchi, “The Electromagnetic Spectrum,” Science Teacher 70, no. 7 (2003): 70.
Smith, Denise, Bonnie Eisenhamer, and Edna DeVore, “The Electromagnetic Spectrum: Using light and color to search for astronomical origins,” Science Scope 26, no. 8 (2003): 40.




The Webby Awards

Webby Award Winner and Webby People's Voice Award winner in the Science category for HubbleSite

Guinness World Record

Awarded the record for the Largest Astronomy Lesson by the Guinness World Records organization

Education Awards

A list of many awards earned by STScI's Education Department