Hubble Telescope

Andres Aguayo & Kara Chamis

History of the Hubble

  • built in 1985
  • launched on April 24, 1990
  • first major optical telescope to be launched in space
  • the launching of the Hubble in 1990 marked the most significant advancement in astronomy since Galileo.
  • covers the near-UV, near-infrared, and visible light spectra
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How it Works/Compenents

  • ACS - Advanced camera for surveys: performs surveys or broad imaging campaigns
  • NICMOS - Near Infrared Camera/Multi-Object Spectrometer: imager/spectrograph for near-infrared range (due to its requirement of very low temperatures, this instrument must use sophisticated coolers in order to function properly)
  • STIS - Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph - used to obtain high resolution spectra of resolved objects

With the addition of the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (used for examining the structure of entire galaxies) and the Wide Field Camera 3 (a substantial improvement to Hubble's basic capabilities), the Hubble Telescope has been essentially retired and will not receive any further improvements.

Major Discoveries

The Hubble Deep Field - Arguably the most famous of Hubble's contributions to astronomical research, the Hubble Deep Field is a seemingly minuscule and insignificant point in the night sky that Hubble pinpointed for 10 days. After the week and a half, the images that Hubble had collected were found to contain over 3,000 galaxies, with some dating back to 10 billion years ago. Since its discovery in 1995, the Hubble Deep Field has been one of the most studied regions of space to date.

Supernova 1997ff - Hubble examined the farthest supernova ever identified of a star that was theorized to have exploded 10 billion years ago. With the information from this discovery, astronomers were allowed to make substantial progress in determining the rate at which the universe accelerates (known as the Hubble constant as a nod to Edwin Hubble, who discovered that the universe was expanding at an accelerating rate).

(Estimated) Age of the Universe - With information that Hubble recorded concerning some of the oldest stars in the Milky Way, astronomers were able to find a range at which the theorized age of the universe was (12 to 14 billion years).

A Tribute to Edwin Hubble

The Hubble Space Telescope was named after the famous scientist and astronomer, Edwin Hubble. Not only did Edwin Hubble discover countless planets and galaxies, but he was also the first to theorize that the universe was expanding at an accelerating rate by measuring the velocity at which galaxies are being repelled from each other.

Sources Cited