Hubble Space Telescope

Michael Dorn

History and Reasoning for theHubble Space Telescope Article

The Hubble Space Telescope was designed to keep the boundary unlimited of a thinking inside the box that has haunted them since the days of Galileo. Air pockets shifting in the atmosphere disrupt and bend light, limiting the view from even the most powerful Earth bound instruments. Orbital telescopes allow us to be able to see the space even if it is somewhat distorted. Scientists began dreaming of such a telescope around the 1940s. But it took longer than anticipated for those dreams to become real with the Hubble Space Telescope. The telescope's original October 1986 launch was scrapped after the loss of the space shuttle challenger.


By the middle of the 20th century astronomers realized a space telescope would privet be an enormous scientific advantage over the countries who did not have such technologies. After World War II advances in rocket technology pushing this idea further along to how useful and possible it one day could be. NASA launched the first orbiting observatory in 1962. Six years later with the Apollo program in full motion.


Scientists have used Hubble to observe the most distant stars and galaxies as well as the planets in our solar system. It's a long term, space observatory. The observations are carried out in visible, infrared and ultraviolet light. In many ways Hubble has revolutionised modern astronomy, by not only being an efficient tool for making new discoveries, but also by driving astronomical research in general. Hubble is the first major optical telescope to be placed in space the ultimate viewpoint.


In 1977 Congress approved funding of $36 million and the project was well underway with a launch date of 1983. That launch did not happen. Edwin Hubble, the telescope’s namesake, had been born in 1889 and studied at the University of Chicago. Hubble became a celebrated figure in the 1920s when he was instrumental in discovering the expansion of the universe and also helped define how vast space and our universe actually is. The Milky Way was but one galaxy in a countless sea of others. Hubble died in 1953 and his legacy lives on with the space observatory.


Five servicing mission have kept Hubble up and running well beyond its originally thought to be 15-year lifespan, but it’s time for the new telescope the James Webb Space Telescope. The $9 billion James Webb is different from Hubble in several key ways. It is optimized for detecting infrared rather than visible light, has a much bigger mirror and won’t require any servicing during its 6-10 year lifespan. The Webb will also be placed well beyond the moon at a distance of some 1 million miles while Hubble is set up at an altitude of only 350 miles which will allow it to look even deeper into the universe to see light from only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. Though it has been delayed the James Webb is currently set for launch in late 2018. It’s uncertain if Hubble will still be operable by then but astronomers hope to use the two telescopes with one another before Hubble is finally retired and de-orbited.

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 3D
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