Hubble Space Telescope

Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a space telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990 on the space shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and remains in operation. It is named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble (November 20, 1889 – September 28, 1953), the American astronomer who played a crucial role in establishing the field of extragalactic astronomy and is generally regarded as one of the most important observational cosmologists of the 20th century. Hubble is known for showing that the recessional velocity of a galaxy increases with its distance from the earth, implying the universe is expanding, known as “Hubble’s law” although this relation had been discovered previously by Georges Lemaître, who published his work in a less visible journal.

Edwin Hubble is also known for providing substantial evidence that many objects then classified as “nebulae” were actually galaxies beyond the Milky Way. American astronomer Vesto Slipher had provided the first evidence for this argument almost a decade before. Hubble’s name is most widely recognized for the Hubble Space Telescope which was named in his honor, with a model prominently displayed in his hometown of Marshfield, Missouri.

This photograph of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope was taken on the fourth servicing mission to the observatory in 2009. Photo: NASA.gov

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