To infinity and beyond practically. I love the Hubble Space Telescope. It is a magnificent human accomplishment, beloved around the world. And it’s now 25 years old.
TORONTO - On April 24, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into space. On Friday, NASA, the European Space Agency, scientists and astronomers will celebrate the telescope’s 25th anniversary.
Hubble’s legacy will live on forever: it has provided numerous insights into our solar system and our galaxy. It has helped us gain a better understanding of the workings of our universe. While its accomplishments are numerous, here are just a few.
There are some wonderful videos embedded in that site., that take you flying through the Universe. It’s magical, especially when you consider what a disaster Hubble was when it first started operating. Instead of the crisp clear images everyone was hoping for, everything was fuzzy and blurry. A flaw in Hubble’s enormous mirror was distorting all the photos it was taking. A shuttle crew had to go up and, in effect, give Hubble glasses, to correct the problem. But once Hubble was fixed, the images were just as breathtaking as everyone had hoped. In this video, the process by which those wonderful pictures are created is detailed.
As stunning as these images are, it takes a lot of work to create them. It is a culmination of science and art. Watch the video below to get a better understanding of the process.
Originally, it was thought that once Hubble had reached the end of its useful life span, it would be hauled aboard a shuttle, and taken back to earth. But with the end of the shuttle program, unless someone comes up with a better plan, Hubble will probably crash back down to earth, some where in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, some time in 2018. I can’t help thinking this is an inglorious end to a magnificent piece of machinery that has literally been our window on the Universe.
While known for political commentary, sports stories, and a number of other interests, Charles P. Pierce back in 2007 wrote a long paean to the Hubble Space Telescope that almost reads like poetry, a kind of worship. There are many things humans have done on this Earth (and beyond it now), but the Hubble Space Telescope is one of those singular creations that changes everything that follows, if only by putting everything in a new context.
The article is titled A Journey to the Beginning of Time. It’s not just that the Hubble sees farther than we’ve seen before, it’s that it is also looking back in time. Distances in space are measured in Light Years, the distance light travels in one Earth year. When the HST looks at something 4 billion light years away, it is seeing light that left that object 4 billion years ago.
But until the end comes, let’s enjoy the magnificent images Hubble keeps giving us.
Images from space don’t get any prettier than this. A new image from the Hubble Space Telescope was released today to commemorate a quarter century of exploring the Solar System and beyond since the launch of the telescope on April 24, 1990. It shows a giant cluster of about 3,000 stars called Westerlund 2, located 20,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Carina. NASA describes the new image as a “brilliant tapestry of young stars flaring to life resemble a glittering fireworks display.”