Skip to comments.Hubble: a time machine that revolutionized astronomy
Posted on 05/10/2009 12:09:25 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON (AFP) The Hubble space telescope, the object of NASA's fifth and last servicing mission next week, is a veritable time machine that has revolutionized humankind's vision and comprehension of the universe.
Put into orbit at an altitude of 600 kilometers (360 miles) by the shuttle Discovery on April 25, 1990, Hubble has transmitted more than 750,000 spectacular images and streams of data from the ends of the universe, opening a new era in astronomy.
But the telescope, the fruit of a collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency, had a troubled start and did not become operational until three years after its deployment.
Its lense in effect had to be fixed because of a flaw in its shape, a sensitive operation that was not carried out until 1993 in the first shuttle-borne service mission, which installed corrective lenses.
From that time on Hubble has transmitted stupefying images of supernovas, gigantic explosions that marked the death of a star and revealed mysterious black holes in the center of virtually all galaxies.
Thanks to these observations, delivered with 10 times the clarity of the most powerful telescopes on Earth, astronomers have been able to confirm that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate and to calculate its age with greater precision as an estimated 13.7 billion years.
The universe's accleration is the result of an unknown force dubbed dark energy that constitutes three-quarters of the universe and counter-balances the force of gravity.
Among the other discoveries credited to Hubble figures the detection of the first organic molecule in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting another star and the fact that the process of formation of planets and solar systems is relatively common in our galaxy, the Milky Way.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
This NASA file image shows the Hubble Space Telescope resting in the Space Shuttle Discovery?s cargo bay during a repair mission in 1999. Put into orbit at an altitude of 600 kilometers (360 miles) by the shuttle Discovery in 1990, Hubble has transmitted more than 750,000 spectacular images and streams of data from the ends of the universe, opening a new era in astronomy. (AFP/HO/File)
May 10, 2009: The Hubble community bids farewell to the soon-to-be decommissioned Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) onboard the Hubble Space Telescope. In tribute to Hubble’s longest-running optical camera, planetary nebula K 4-55 has been imaged as WFPC2’s final “pretty picture.”
Some interesting past finds
Exotics and Stuff
Astronomers Use Hubble and Keck to Identify Dwarf Galaxy
Hubble Finds Ring of Dark Matter
Hubble Pinpoints Record-Breaking Explosion
I've always found dark energy and matter particularly amusing. We can't see or detect them, but assume they're there because otherwise our theories don't work.
A reasonable person might think we need to revise our theories to fit what we can observe rather than postulating undetectable entities.
Don't get me wrong, I think the dark matter/energy theories may very well be true, I just think the rationale behind them isn't very scientific.
The Science channel will start their coverage tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, launch is set for 2:01.
Thanks for this thread.
Are they putting it in the bay again on this mission?
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I’ll try to get a break at work this morning, watch the launch and find a launch live thread. Mission Specialist from down your way on this one.
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