Hubble continues to accumulate observations and make new discoveries
1. What is the Hubble Space Telescope?
The Hubble Space Telescope is a space telescope that was launched in 1990 from the Discovery spacecraft. From its position above Earth’s atmosphere, Hubble expanded our understanding of the universe – in particular, about the birth of stars, stellar death, the evolution of the galaxy and black holes.
Hubl’s view is so breathtaking that it sits above the Earth’s atmosphere. Shifting pockets of air distorts light from space – which is why stars appear to twinkle when viewed from the ground. Moreover, the atmosphere partially or completely blocks some wavelengths of light, making space the only place where you can get a truly clear and comprehensive view of the universe.
The large Hubble mirror collects light from celestial objects and directs it to the instruments of the telescope, the astronomer’s eyes to the Universe. Current Hubble Instruments – Wide Angle Camera 3 (WFC3), Space-Based Spectrograph (COS), Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Objective Spectrometer (NICMOS), Advanced Survey Camera (ACS), Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) and Sensors precision guidance (FGS).
These are not the only instruments that have flown aboard the Hubble. The telescope was designed for periodic visits by astronauts who bring new instruments and technologies and make repairs. Perhaps the most famous of these maintenance missions is the first, in 1993. After the launch of Hubble in 1990, it was discovered that the primary mirror of the telescope has no shape at the edges by 1/50 of a human hair. This very small defect made it difficult to focus on faint objects that Hubble was looking at. Astronauts installed corrective optics on the telescope to correct the visual defect. This will be followed by four more astronaut visits, each of which will increase the capabilities of the Hubble Observatory.
2. Why maintain the Hubble Space Telescope?
NASA, early in the development of the telescope, decided to design the observatory so that it could be serviced while in orbit. Appliances have been designed as modular units, comparable to dressers, which are easy to remove and replace. When a component broke or a more technologically advanced device appeared, astronauts could install new equipment. The telescope designers have equipped the Hubble with hand holders and other special devices to make it easier to perform maintenance tasks for astronauts wearing bulky spacesuits.
By periodically modernizing scientific instruments, NASA argued that it could provide the scientific community around the world with advanced technologies using the unique position of the Hubble high above the shadowed atmosphere of the Earth. The spacecraft were serviced in 1993, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2009.
3. Will there be another Hubble maintenance mission?
The fourth maintenance mission in 2009 was the last mission to Hable. As with any advanced technology, Hubble has too many spare parts to be repaired indefinitely. Over the years, the components gradually degrade to such an extent that they cease to function.
When this happens, the Hubble will continue to orbit the Earth until its orbit breaks apart, allowing it to rotate towards the Earth. The Hubble was designed specifically to operate with the space shuttle, but its long lifespan continued after the space shuttle program was abandoned. Instead, a robotic mission is expected to help Hubble out of orbit by guiding his remains through atmospheric and ocean diving.
4. Can I see photos of the Hubl live?
There is no camera or webcam on board the telescope for direct relay communications. The images taken by Hubble are digital images and spectra that are published one year later (so that astronomers who requested the data have enough time to carry out their research). The data that is transmitted digitally from the telescope must be converted by computers from this digitized information into black and white photographs. They are then refined to bring out the details in the images.
Photo: nasahubble / Instagram
5. Are the colors in the Hubble images real?
There are no “natural color” cameras on board the Hubble. All optical cameras on board are digital CCD cameras that capture images in grayscale.
Sometimes the color comes out as natural as possible. However, the color given to images is not just “artistic decoration”. Images are indeed loaded as black and white, and color is added for a number of different reasons – for example, to show dispersive details of chemical elements and to highlight features so muted that the human eye cannot see them.
6. Can Hubble photograph the Earth?
The surface of the Earth sweeps through the orbits of the Hubble, and the guidance system designed to track distant stars cannot track an object on Earth. The shortest exposure time of any of the Hubble devices is 0.1 seconds, and during this time the Hubble moves about 700 meters, or almost half a mile. Therefore, the image taken by Hubble from Earth will have all the stripes.
7. Sometimes the corner of the image is missing. Why?
Strange, staircase shots come from Wide Angle and Planetary Camera 2, or WFPC2. WFPC2, captured from the Hubble in 2009, consisted of four cameras, each of which took a picture of the target area. It’s like taking four shots of the same scene and then putting them together to create a complete picture.
But one of the WFPC2 cameras takes an enlarged image of the observed area so that we can study this area in more detail. When images are processed, this enlarged area is reduced to the same size as the other areas so that it fits into the image.
8. Who is the Hubble Space Telescope named after?
Edwin P. Hubble revolutionized cosmology by proving that some of the clouds of light astronomers saw in the night sky were in fact other galaxies outside our Milky Way. His greatest discovery came in 1929 when he determined the relationship between the distance of a galaxy and the speed at which it is moving. The farther a galaxy is from Earth, the faster it moves away from us. This is known as the “Hubble Law”. He also developed a method for classifying the various shapes of galaxies.
Photo from the site ru.wikipedia.org
Edwin Powell Hubble was born in Marshfield, Missouri. In 1910 he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and studied law on a Rhodes Fellowship at the University of Oxford. However, his true love was astronomy, and he returned to the University of Chicago to pursue a doctorate in the subject and work at the Erkes Observatory. He served in the infantry during the First World War.
He once said that he had “dropped the law of astronomy,” knowing that even if it was second-rate or third-rate, astronomy was important.
9. What is Hubble doing now?
Hubble continues to accumulate observations and make new discoveries. One of his most exciting ongoing projects, Border Fields, promises to provide a wealth of new information about the early history of the universe and the origins of galaxies. Scientists will rely on Hubble’s revelations for years to continue their quest for understanding the cosmos – a quest that has achieved clarity, focus, and triumphality through Hubble’s rich existence.
10. Interesting facts about the Hubble space telescope and astronomy …
Aiming at the Hubble Space Telescope and pinning to distant celestial objects is like holding laser light exactly ten cent away, which is 200 miles.
The Hubble Space Telescope orbits the Earth at 17,000 miles per hour. If the cars were moving so fast, it would take only 10 minutes to travel along the coast of the continental United States.
Each month, the orbiting observatory collects enough information to fill the Library of Congress nearly twice.
The images and data collected by the telescope travel 90,000 miles over satellite and terrestrial links before reaching the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.
Engineers designed the Hubble with maintenance in mind. The telescope is equipped with 31 mounts and 225 foot handrails.
The tool chest that astronauts use during mission maintenance contains over 100 tools, including regular screwdrivers and wrenches.