Happy 20th Anniversary Hubble!

The Hubble Space Telescope (as seen in the picture below)…

…Marks its 20 YEAR ANNIVERSARY in space today! 

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit on April 24th of 1990 by the space shuttle “Discovery”. 

Hubble was named after renowned American Astronomer Edwin Hubble, who is most notably known for his discovery of the universe beyond the Milky Way and his contributions to the discovery of “Doppler Shift” (a more detailed biography of Edwin Hubble can be found here: http://www.spacetelescope.org/about/history/the_man_behind_the_name/). 

Hubble’s initial weeks in orbit were marked by major difficulties as the main optic system/mirror was not operating correctly.  Despite being perfected fit, Hubble’s optic system/mirror was 2.2 microns too flat (for comparison a human hair is approx 100 microns in width).  Hubble was still able to take pictures but the images that where being sent back where not nearly as clear has had been expected.  After much research and deliberation the problem was finally corrected in 1993 by the installation of COSTAR (Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement).  After this upgrade Hubble was finally able to produce the crystal clear images that it had been built to provide. 

Before COSTAR (Left) and After COSTAR (Right)

Before COSTAR (Left) and After COSTAR (Right)

Some of Hubble’s (more specifically the scientists running Hubble) contributions to science include ground-breaking information related to the age of the universe, the life + lifespan of stars, the solar neighbourhood, black holes, dark matter and the composition of the universe.  A more detailed list and description of Hubble’s contributions to science can be found here: http://www.spacetelescope.org/science/

Additionally, the Hubble Space Telescope has provided us with thousands of absolutely beautiful photos of our own universe.  Some of my recent favourites:

Released just yesterday in honour of Hubble’s 20th Anniversary (description: http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic1007a/)

 

Star Birth in the Extreme (description: http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic0707a/)

 

The Orion Nebula (description: http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic0601a/)

 

Galaxies Galore (description: http://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic0406a/)

 

For more information please go to the following websites:

http://hubble.nasa.gov/

http://hubblesite.org/

http://www.spacetelescope.org/

This has been the Skeptical Samurai

Working to serve…

Through the process of inquiry…

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