The Hubble Space Telescope

Learn about the hubble space telescope and the different types of equipment and cameras on board.

The Hubble Telescope was named after Edwin Hubble (1889-1953). He proved that when astronomers saw clouds in far off space, they were actually looking at distant galaxies. In 1929, he discovered, Hubble's Law by proving the further away a galaxy is the faster it's moving away from us.

The official name of this telescope is the Hubble SpaceTelescope, nicknamed HST. A space shuttle lauched it into orbit around earth in 1990. It is about three hundred and eighty miles above our planet, and orbits the earth every ninety minutes. It travels at five miles a second, and is about as large as a semi-truck, forty-three and a half feet long. At it's widest it measures fourteen feet. Among the Hubbles equipment is a Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer called NICMOS. Using wavelenghs of near infrared it can see the universe sharper than any other telescope ,because it's in between radio and visual wavelenghs. That enables it to see through dust and clouds that would normally be in the way of what scientists are looking for. It was made by Professor Rodger Thompon of the University of Arizona with his team of sixteen members.

Another instrument on the Hubble is the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograh, STIS for short. It seperates light and ultraviolet light into individual colors. This helps scientists gain insight into different properties of the object, like how fast it moves, and what it's made of. Dr. Bruce E. Woodgate headed the development at Goddard Space Flight Center's Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics.

The Hubble also has Five Guidance Sensors or FGS for accurate aiming, and the Advanced Camera For Surveys, ACS. This unit is really three camers in one. It contains a high resolution camera, a wide-field camera, and a solar blind camera. The entire unit can see everything from ultraviolet to near-infrared light. It also has a coronagraph to take glare out.

Images from the Hubble are taken digitally and then made into black and white photos. These images are not released to the public for one year. The reason being is that astronomers and scientists from all over can write a proposal of an observation they want. If their proposal is accepted they are added to Hubble's schedule, and are given one year to analyze their data and write their papers before public release of the images. In between time their is Early Release Observations, which occurs when new equipment is added to Hubble to show public it works. The Hubble gets periodic maintainance about every three years .

The Hubble has taken over one hundred thousand images in the past eight years. Those images and data, travel over ninety thousand miles to the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. The furthest images Hubble has ever seen are galaxies twelve billion light years away. They have nicknamed these observations as the Ultra Deep Fried.

The Hubble will come back to earth in 2010, where it will retire at the National Air and Space Museum .

© High Speed Ventures 2011