Exploring Hubble Space Telescope

Hubble Space Telescope

  • The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was launched into low earth orbit by carrying it aboard a space shuttle in 1990. The telescope is named after Edwin Hubble, a famous American astronomer of the 20th century.

  • Hubble is a 2.4 meter (7.9 ft ) aperture telescope carrying instruments to view near ultraviolet, visible and near infrared fields.

  • At present, Hubble Space Telescope is the only telescope that is designed to be serviced in space by means of service missions.

  • Hubble was first funded in 1970s and  a launch was proposed for 1983. But due to issues like Challenger destruction, budget and technical problems, it was launched only in 1990.

  • The space telescope’s mirror is polished with an accuracy of 10 nanometers (i.e) 1/65 the wavelength of redlight.

  • Initially, the Hubble Space Telescope carried instruments including the Wide Field and Planetary Camera (WF/PC), Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph (GHRS), High Speed Photometer (HSP), Faint Object Camera (FOC) and Faint Object Spectrograph (FOS).
Hubble Space Telescope facts

  • The Hubble is operated and data are delivered by the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScl) which is operated by Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA).

  • Pillars of Creation is one of the famous images taken by Hubble which shows the formation of stars in Eagle Nebula.

  • With the aid of Hubble telescope, astronomers found that the expansion of universe is actually accelerating.

  • The Hubble Deep Field (HDF) is an image created using a series of observations in a small region of the constellation Ursa Major. The below deep field image was created using 342 separate images taken using the telescope.

  • The Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) is a collection of exposures in the constellation Fornax viewing back approximately 13 billion years (i.e) probably between 400 and 800 million years after the Big Bang. It contains nearly 10,000 galaxies.

  • The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) is an image consisting of a small part in the center of Hubble Ultra Deep Field. It is so far the deepest view into the space containing images from 10 years and galaxies 13.2 billion years ago. (Click here for High Resolution Image)
Hubble eXtreme Deep Field
Hubble Extreme Deep Field
  • The Hubble Space Telescope has a low Earth orbit which means its orbit decays overtime due to drag. It will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere probably between 2019 and 2032. The date of re-enter depends on activity of Sun and its effect on upper atmosphere.

  • If Hubble enters the atmosphere, some of the main mirror parts and structure will survive the re-entry and is considered a threat. NASA is planning other means to bring the spacecraft back to Earth safely by means of shuttle or boosters.

  • The Hubble Space Telescope will be succeeded by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) which is designed to operate in a colder environment and far away from Earth to view distant objects in the universe.

For more up-to-date information about Hubble findings, visit Hubble official website – http://hubblesite.org/

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