The Hubble Telescope
Lasting far beyond its planned lifetime, the Hubble Telescope has played a major role in every area of astronomy, from the solar system to objects at the edge of the universe. It also continues to give us stunning pictures of stars, galaxies and planets.
The Hubble Telescope discovered a new moon orbiting the planet Neptune. This moon is so small and not very bright that it is approximately 100 million times less bright than the faintest star that you can see with your eyes.
The orbiting Hubble Telescope provided the first proof the Universe is growing more quickly than it has in the past. It made a more precise estimate of the age of the universe. And it helped scientists reveal the recipe for planets, supporting an assumption that planets are common in our universe and to help find Earthlike worlds.
The Hubble Telescope is the only telescope designed to be fixed in space by astronauts.There have been 5 space shuttle missions to fix the telescope since it was launched into space. It is now expected to last until at least 2014 and possibly until 2020.
The Hubble Telescope does one orbit of Earth in 1hr 37mins, it travels at a speed of about 8km per second. While its travelling its mirror captures the light and sends it to the science instruments inside the Telescope.
Telescopes work by collecting more light than a human eye will see. The bigger its mirror is the more light it collects and the better its vision. The Hubble Telescope's mirror is 2.4m in diameter.
One of the advantages of the Hubble Space Telescope is that it can take very clear pictures of the universe. The reason for this is that it is orbiting outside Earth's atmosphere. The Earth has several layers in the atmosphere which are constantly moving. The light bends while traveling through the different layers which distorts the images you get on Earth with normal earth based telescopes.