As amateur astronomer’s telescopes are our most important tools for observing the universe. We are also amazed about views of more sophisticated equipment located at observatories such as Kitt Peak National Observatories offer.
However, telescopes located at the Earth surface are always subject to atmosphere’s more or less obscuring effect, but that is not the case up there, at space. International organizations such as NASA and ESA have invested an enormous amount of effort and money to build the Hubble Space Telescope, also known as the HST, in the space orbiting the Earth.
Here are the ten amazing facts about Hubble you should know.
- The telescope’s history dates back to 1946 just after World War II. Lyman Spitzer, an astronomer spent much of his career pushing for a space based observatory. He proposed that it had more advantages than the traditional ground-based observatories.
- HST’s initial design was much larger. It’s initial design included a mirror whose diameter was three meters. However, this increased the cost of having the HST put into orbit. A mirror with 2.4m in diameter was used to reduce the project’s cost.
- Despite all the cost-cutting measures in place the satellite’s mirror it is still huge. The satellite is quite heavy and long. It is 13 meters long and weighs 11 tonnes.
- It consumes little power compared to the modern appliance. Hubble only uses 2800 watts which is nearly what a modern iron box consumes. This power is generated by solar panels fitted on the satellite.
- Hubble orbits the earth with a velocity of 7.6km/s. This is pretty fast considering it orbits the earth 15 times in one day. One orbit rotation is called a period and lasts 95 for the HST.
- The telescope was designed to look into the deep space. Observing nearby heavenly bodies such as the sun and mercury can damage its sensors. These bodies are too bright as it was designed as an exploration for observing the furthest galaxies. The sensors are extremely sensitive to light, an adaptation require for deep space exploration.
- NASA describes Hubble as a giant camera in space. Charged coupled device (CCD) are used in place for a film to capture light from space. CCDs are just light sensitive capacitors which helps NASA scientist observe deep space through the telescope. Click here to view amazing photo taken by Hubble.
- HST captures images in black and white. The CCD capacitors used in the telescope only record images in black and white. To obtain colored images, scientist use filters to determine an objects color. Black and white image exposure filters are used to get the colours to match.
- Launched into space in 1990, HST has completed all the objectives it was sent out to determine. Determining the true age of the universe is possibly its greatest milestone. The universe was determined to be 13.8 billion years old. This is possibly the most accurate reading the satellite has achieved.
- Although it reached its final phase of its mission, it is still in full use. Some of its components were rendered useless by 2014. However, it is excepted to continue operations till 2030. Eventually, it will be replaced by a more advanced space telescope called the James Web Space Telescope.
Here are some amazing Hubble Space Telescope Images
Watch video about how does the HST work
If you have any questions or comments about the HST, please leave a reply below!
If you are interested in amateur astronomy, and observing the sky by yourself, you should consider buying own optics. Be sure to read our telescope reviews and buyers guide to get better idea about what is available.
Hopefully this was interesting information! If you are interested in it, you can read more about the Hubble from WikiPedia.