Hubble Observations of the Solar System

Max MutchlerMax Mutchler
Thursday, October 24, 2019
10 – 11:30 am in Kelley Lecture Hall 
Hoffberger Science Building
(Directions / Campus Map)

Registration Fee: $18

Program Description

The Hubble Space Telescope has been on an unparalleled scientific tour-de-force since its launch in 1990. Today's presenter - Max Mutchler – has been on board the entire mission, and is an expert on Hubble’s cameras.  Max specializes in Hubble imaging of Solar System objects, often in support of other planetary missions. Max is part of a team that discovered several small moons of Pluto using Hubble, in support of the New Horizons mission that flew by Pluto in 2015. Asteroid "6815 Mutchler" was named in honor of his role in these discoveries. More recently, Max is part of a team studying asteroids that behave like comets, which may hold clues to the source of Earth's oceans. In this presentation, Max will describe what we are learning about planets, asteroids, and comets from his Hubble Space Telescope observing programs, including this exciting new news...



Program Format

  1. PowerPoint presentation with discussion
  2. Question & Answer opportunity

Suggested Supplementary Material 


The Planetary Post visits STScI: 

Hubble observations of an asteroid crash (with Star Wars clip):

 Hubble hangouts (full hour) on a 6-tailed asteroid, and the Dawn mission:  


Saturn and Mars Team Up To Make Their Closest Approaches to Earth in 2018:

Nasa's Hubble Observes the Farthest Active Inbound Comet Yet Seen:

Hubble discovers a unique type of object in the Solar System:

Hubble Encounters Comet ISON: 


Hubblesite -

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope -

Wide Field Infra Red Survey Telescope - -


About the Presenter

Max Mutchler

Max Mutchler has been working at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) on the campus of Johns Hopkins University for 29 years - the entirety of Hubble's mission. STScI is best known as the scientific home of Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched into Earth's orbit in 1990 and is still exploring the Universe. STScI is now preparing for two new space telescopes that will launch in the next few years: the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST, set to be launched in 2021), and the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST, set to be launched in late 2025). Max is a member of the Outreach Imaging Team (formerly the Hubble Heritage Team), which has produced many of the iconic images for which Hubble is famous. Currently he is the head of the Research and Instrument Analysis Branch at STScI, though he is now transitioning to focus most of his time on WFIRST.