Have you ever thought how does the universe look? Do you think we can view whole of the space just with the help of a Telescope? It is highly impossible to view the outer space with a Telescope.
Ever since the launch of satellites, rockets etc., it has become possible to take images from the space. When Galileo used to view objects from his ground telescope, he always had an urge to view deeper. But a deeper insight was not possible with his Telescope and that is when scientists decided to launch telescopes into space. Hubble space Telescope was a telescope launched into space to view the outer space.
History of Hubble Space Telescope
Hubble Telescope was launched in 1990 by NASA. There is a small history behind the naming of this telescope as Hubble space Telescope.
Edwin Hubble, in 1924 made far-reaching changes in cosmology by calculating that Milky Way galaxy is just one of the many galaxies in the vast universe. As a tribute to his contributions, in 1983, this Telescope was named as Hubble.
What is Hubble Space Telescope?
Hubble was the first major observatory optical telescope placed in space. It is used for studying distant stars, other galaxies and planets in our solar system too. The space telescopes’ idea was first proposed in 1923 and was planned to launch in 1983. But, due to some technical issues the launch got delayed and the Hubble space telescope was finally launched in 1990.
If there are any problems in the telescope placed in space, it has to be inevitably serviced by astronauts in space itself. So, there were four space shuttle missions to repair and upgrade the systems of telescope.
Technical Features of Hubble Space Telescope
Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has a length of 43.5 ft and weighs about 11,110 kg. During the construction of this space telescope, many institutions were given the responsibility to work on different areas involved in its construction.
Marshall Space Flight Centre (MSFC) was given the responsibility to develop, design and construct the telescope. And under MSFC commission Perkin-Elmer Optics Company was responsible for making Optical Telescope Assembly. The overall control of the scientific instruments was given to Goddard Space Flight Centre.
Hubble can transmit upto 140 gigabits of raw data every week. The only source of power to this Space Telescope is the Sun. The Hubble Space Telescope has two 250 ft solar panel, which can generate power upto 5500 watts. This telescope’s power system has 6 nickel hydrogen batteries (NiH) which has a storage capacity equal to that of 20 car batteries.
Accuracy is the most important factor in any Telescope. Similarly Hubble Space Telescope should be highly steady and accurate in order to take good & clear images. This telescope can focus and lock on to the target without deviating for more than 7/1000th arcsecond.
Making accurate shaped mirrors for this space telescope was no less than challenge. The Perkin-Elmer began working on mirrors by using ultra-low expansion glasses in order to keep up the minimum weight of the mirrors. The Hubble Space Telescope consisted of two mirrors namely primary mirror and secondary mirror. The primary mirror was having 94.5 inch diameter and weighed 282 kg. And the secondary mirror was having diameter of 12 inches and weighed 12.3 kg. This telescope highly sensitive to light.
Facts about Hubble Space Telescope!
- Since the time Hubble started functioning in space, it has made about more than 1.2 million observations.
- It has travelled 3 billion miles along Earth orbit.
- In order to change the position angle, the telescope spins its wheel in opposite direction. It takes about 15 minutes to rotate 90 degrees.
- The first ever capture of Hubble telescope was a binary star.
- Hubble Telescope took a picture called “Hubble Ultra Deep Field” which showed few of the farthest galaxies which could not have been seen in any other space images.
- This amazing telescope has been providing many images which serve as research aid for many scientists. Some of the image taken by Hubble showed the existence of Black hole in the Universe. With the help of these pictures it is possible for Scientists to decode the happenings in our Universe.
- It has been 25 years for the Hubble Space Telescope and still continuous to take incredible images.
Latest Captures Of Hubble Telescope
- A New view of ‘Crab Nebula’
This rare and new view of Crab nebula was captured by Hubble telescope which was released on 31 October 2016. Crab Nebula is 1500 light years away.
- NGC 362
NGC 362 Globular cluster of stars in Milky Way Galaxy which is about 27000 light years away. NGC 362 is of the unusual star cluster among 150 such clusters of Milky Way.
- NGC 299- The Toucan cluster
NGC 299 is a Globular star cluster of Tucana constellation, which is 200000 light years away.
- Cassiopeia’s Spiral Galaxy
Hubble’s wild field Planetary Camera 2 captured this unusual resident of Cassiopeia constellation about 38 million light years away. This Cosmic beauty was named NGC 278.
- Central region of NCG 247
NGC 247 is a spiral Galaxy belonging to Cetus constellation which is about 11 million light years away from Earth. This galaxy has a very bright nucleus which was captured by Hubble telescope.
Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA