Skip to comments.Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Two New Hubble-Quality Telescopes Gifted to NASA
Posted on 06/10/2012 9:24:45 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
Explanation: What if you were given a new Hubble telescope for free? How about two? The astronomical community is abuzz with just this opportunity as the US National Reconnaissance Office has unexpectedly transferred ownership of two space-qualified Hubble-quality telescopes to NASA. The usefulness of these telescopes in addressing existing science priorities has begun, but preliminary indications hold that even one of these telescope could be extremely useful in searching for extrasolar planets as well as distant galaxies and supernovas that could better explore the nature of dark energy. Although they start out as free, making even one telescope operational and fitting it with useful cameras would be quite expensive, so NASA is being decidedly careful about how to fit these new telescopes into its existing budget. Pictured above, the original Hubble Space Telescope floats high above the Earth during a servicing mission in 2002.
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Are these on earth or in orbit?
Will this transfer degrade the intelligence capabilities of the National Reconnaissance Office, or are these units obsolete?
Lots of questions.
Not just that. These are (presumably) telescopes designed for visible-light surface surveillance i.e. 100-200km. What kind of modifications will they need to be useful for long-range astronomical use, where distances are going to be measured in tens of lightyears and imaging in other spectrums?
The Hubble is based on these spy telescopes, so the modifications have already been done (The Hubble is longer which gives it a narrower field of view. ). Currently the plan is to use one of the scopes for wide field infrared studies without much modification.
As a bit of trivia the Hubble could have been replaced with a new telescope using an expendable rocket for less money for every time it was updated/maintained by a Shuttle mission.
Duuugh.. theres no such thing as a free lunch...
The federal givernment could make a wet dream expensive..
Well, that’s scary. We only have curtains in one room in our house, the bedroom... Will have to get them for all the other rooms now.
“What kind of modifications will they need to be useful for long-range astronomical use, where distances are going to be measured in tens of lightyears and imaging in other spectrums?”
I can’t find any documentation, but my guess is that there will be very little, if any, focal change between 100km and “infinity”.
Secondly, basic earth sciences cameras used in orbit image in many different spectra. Probably not x-ray or far ultraviolet, but lots of frequencies below that.
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