Tag Archives: 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.

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

Some facts about HST

  • Hubble has made more than 1.2 million observations since its mission began in 1990.
  • Astronomers using Hubble data have published more than 14,000 scientific papers, making it one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built.
  • Hubble does not travel to stars, planets or galaxies. It takes pictures of them as it whirls around Earth at about 17,000 mph.
  • Hubble has traveled more than 3 billion miles along a circular low Earth orbit currently about 340 miles in altitude.
  • Hubble has no thrusters. To change pointing angles, it uses Newton’s third law by spinning its wheels in the opposite direction. It turns at about the speed of a minute hand on a clock, taking 15 minutes to turn 90 degrees.
  • Hubble has the pointing accuracy of .007 arc seconds, which is like being able to shine a laser beam on a dime 200 miles away.
  • Outside the haze of our atmosphere, Hubble can see astronomical objects with an angular size of 0.05 arc seconds, which is like seeing a pair of fireflies in Tokyo from your home in Maryland.
  • Hubble has peered back into the very distant past, to locations more than 13.4 billion light years from Earth.
  • The Hubble archive contains more than 120 terabytes, and Hubble science data processing generates about 10 Terabytes of new archive data per year.
  • Hubble weighed about 24,000 pounds at launch and currently weighs about 27,000 pounds following the final servicing mission in 2009 – on the order of two full-grown African elephants.
  • Hubble’s primary mirror is 2.4 meters (7 feet, 10.5 inches) across.
  • Hubble is 13.3 meters (43.5 feet) long — the length of a large school bus.

Sources

The First Tweet from Space (May 13, 2009)

Ten years ago today, on May 13, 2009, NASA astronaut Michael J. Massimino composed the first tweet from space as he and the crew of Space Shuttle Atlantis zoomed to rendezvous with the Hubble Space Telescope. Massimino wrote “From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!”.

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Watch: 100 Million Stars of the Andromeda Galaxy

In January 2015, NASA released the largest image ever of the Andromeda galaxy, called the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury (PHAT), taken by the Hubble telescope. This composite image involved thousands of observations, hundreds of fields, spanned about a third of the galaxy and resolved over 100 million stars.

Totaling 1.5 billion pixels and requiring 4.3 gigabytes of disk space, this photo provides a detailed glimpse at the sheer scale of our nearest galactic neighbor.

Using this gigantic image, filmmaker Dave Achtemichuk created an unforgettable interactive experience.

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Watch: Casting a $20 Million Mirror for the World’s Largest Telescope (Giant Magellan Telescope)

The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) is a ground-based extremely large telescope under construction, planned for completion in 2025. When completed, it will be one member of the next class of giant ground-based telescopes that promises to revolutionize our view and understanding of the universe. It will be constructed in the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile.

GMT has a unique design that offers several advantages. It is a segmented mirror telescope that employs seven of today’s largest stiff monolith mirrors as segments. Six off-axis 8.4 meter or 27-foot segments surround a central on-axis segment, forming a single optical surface 24.5 meters, or 80 feet, in diameter with a total collecting area of 368 square meters. The GMT will have a resolving power 10 times greater than the Hubble Space Telescope!

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Top 6 Biggest Stars in the Universe

What is the biggest star in the Universe? In fact, it is really hard to give an exact answer to this question since the universe is big, neighboring and the other galaxies are billions of light years away from us. But, we can give it a try. Here are the top 6 biggest stars in the Universe currently known by radius.

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Hubble Space Telescope Launch

On April 24, 1990, Hubble Space Telescope was launched into low Earth orbit from space shuttle Discovery (STS-31). It orbits the Earth at an altitude of about 350 miles (560 kilometers). For a comparison, the International Space Station (ISS) maintains an orbit with an altitude of between 205 and 270 miles (330 and 435 kilometers). The telescope is 43.5 feet (13.2 meters) long, weighs 24,500 pounds (11,110 kilograms).

Here is a photo of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope below.

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Hubble Observes Atmospheres of TRAPPIST-1 Exoplanets in the Habitable Zone

Good news for the search for extraterrestrial life: the TRAPPIST-1 System might be rich (very rich!) in water and all of the planets are mostly made of rock. Using data from NASA’s Spitzer and Kepler space telescopes, researchers calculated the densities of TRAPPIST-1 planets more precisely than ever, and they determined that all of the planets are mostly made of rock. Additionally, some have up to 5 percent of their mass in water, which is around 250 times more than the oceans on Earth. Researchers published their findings in a recent study in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics titled “The nature of the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanets” .

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25th launch anniversary of TDRS-6 (Amazing Photos)

Today, to celebrate 25th launch anniversary of Tracking and Data Relay Satellite 6 (TDRS-6), the American communications satellite which launched by Space Shuttle Endeavour on January 13, 1993, NASA has published two amazing photos on its twitter account. The American space agency has tweeted that “Happy 25th launch anniversary to TDRS-6, launched on this day in 1993! TDRS-6 is still operational today, well past its intended design life“.

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Watch: NASA’s 2017 Highlights

NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has published a video that contains highlights of important events and the space agency’s achievements over the year 2017.

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“Making Life Multiplanetary”: Musk reveals a new plan to colonize Mars

The billionaire founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk has revealed a new plan to colonize Moon and Mars with giant reusable spaceships. He provided an update on their Mars colonization plan at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) Notes 1 in Adelaide, Australia this week. Musk plans to send 1 million people to Mars using BFR Notes 2, and “making life multiplanetary”. He has highly ambitious plans, like launching and landing at least two uncrewed cargo ships on Mars as early as 2022.

The newly announced BFR is smaller than the one Musk revealed at the same event last year, 106 meters (348 feet) tall and carrying capacity of 150 tonnes compared to the previous design’s 122 meters (400 feet) and 300 tonnes. But, (naturally) it’s way cheaper than the previously announced version, and according to Musk, “lower cost is the biggest update”. And, still, it is more powerful than any of SpaceX’s or NASA’s other planned rockets.

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