Invention & History Of The Hubble Telescope in 1990 ??
The launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990 made one of astronomy’s greatest dreams come true. Freed from the Earth’s atmosphere, our gaze has penetrated, thanks to Hubble, into the distant depths of space. You have ventured, as you have never done before, into the universe’s past
Why a telescope in space?
The sensational photographs provided by the Hubble Space Telescope offer us a new image of the universe never seen before:
- The most distant galaxies.
- The colliding star systems.
- The nebulae are rich in colors.
- The stars in formation.
- The mysterious ring structures around a supernova.
- The fall of a comet on Jupiter.
- The obvious existence of black holes.
- All of this is enough to enthrall experts and amaze astronomers.
What constitutes a novel fact and gives it the character of a great invention is being in space.
The factors that make a space telescope superior to a terrestrial observatory are vain, even if the latter is located in the best possible location, such as on the top of a mountain.
A telescope in space is not conditioned by the turbulence in the atmosphere, which makes the images obtained by a ground-based telescope sometimes blurry, an effect that cannot be compensated even with the best image processing methods.
From space, the sky is black and cloudless, so observations from there are not affected by natural night light or artificial light sources.
Finally, the absence of an atmosphere allows the space telescope to observe not only visible light but also those regions of the spectrum that cannot pass through the Earth’s atmosphere or that are too weak to be captured by radio telescopes located on the Earth’s surface.
Origin of the Hubble telescope
Beginning in the 1960s, the idea of a large space telescope was controversial within NASA and among American astronomers. In 1972, NASA entrusted the leadership of the project to the Marshall Space Flight Center.
This project included the construction of the space shuttle, which would be the transport vehicle for the telescope. Originally, the launch of the Hubble telescope was set for the year 1980.
However, in 1974, after the economic crisis caused by the rising price of oil, the project was abandoned due to its high cost (500 million dollars), but in 1975, thanks to the collaboration of other countries (the United Kingdom and Germany, mainly), recovered again.
After the Space Shuttle Challenger accident (1986), the launch suffered a further delay, and it was not until April 24, 1990, that the countdown began for the launch of Discovery, which was carrying five astronauts and the telescope. Hubble spacecraft, the final cost of which was $ 2 billion.
Hubble in space
The Hubble Space Telescope orbits at an altitude of between 590 and 620 kilometers. It uses a remote control system to orient itself towards the target and make observations. The information is sent to the Goddard Space Flight Center through a network of geostationary satellites.
The system that provides the 4.4 kW of electrical energy required by Hubble is made up of 12-meter long solar panels, with a total of 48,760 photoelectric cells.
These panels were damaged during the first year of operation and had to be replaced in 1993. In the same operation, a correction system, called Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement ( COSTAR ), was also installed for Hubble’s main mirror, which turned out to be too flat.
At Christmas 1999, the DF-224 computer, equipped with an Intel i386 microprocessor (Hubble’s brain), was replaced by a more modern one, the HST 470, equipped with an i486 microprocessor, whose performance is twenty times higher.
Hubble Optical Technology
The Hubble observing system is made up of several individual cameras and an optical system similar to that of ground-based telescopes. The first camera is the WF / PC ( Wide Field and Planetary Camera ), which allows high-resolution images to be obtained over a wide field of view and a wide range of wavelengths (150 to 11,500 A).
The second chamber is the FOC ( Faint Object Camera ), used for high-resolution observations of weak sources in the lengths of visible and ultraviolet wavelengths.
The optical system is made up of hyperbolic lenses. The primary lens has a diameter of 2.40 meters and a focal length of 57.60 meters; the secondary one measures 0.34 m in diameter.
During another mission, conducted in 1997, the two original spectrographs were replaced by two much more modern and complex instruments: the NICMOS infrared multi-object spectrometer and the STIS multi-purpose spectrograph, both of which provide Hubble with the ability to analyze infrared and ultraviolet spectra, as well as that of observing astronomical objects in our own galaxy with great precision.
The mechanical structure of the telescope is composed of a titanium ring. On one side is the tubular structure, composed of a synthetic material reinforced with carbon fibers, which supports the primary and secondary lenses, and on the opposite side, a holder for the scientific instruments. Behind the data storage, processing, and transmission devices are located.
Why was the space telescope named Hubble?
It is not surprising that artificial satellites are named after famous scientists. Thus, the astronomical satellite launched in 1972 OAO-3, was called “Copernicus”. The probe put into orbit in 1989 to explore the planet Jupiter, “Galileo”, and the satellite X OAO-4, “Einstein”.
The space telescope was baptized with the name “Hubble” because one of its main missions was to determine the age of the universe, and this was the main field of study of the American astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble, one of the greatest astronomers of this century and discoverer of the Big Bang.
Thanks to Hubble, it has been possible to penetrate the depths of space and time. Distant galaxies have been observed whose light is 4 billion times fainter than the dimmest star that can be seen with the naked eye.
You can also observe young, small galaxies. One of the most important discoveries of Hubble (1996) is the existence of a huge crater in the asteroid Vesta, produced by the impact of a large meteorite; it is assumed that when the collision took place, some fragments of Vesta reached Earth.
Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon, is composed of ozone, and this discovery implies that the satellite has a small atmosphere of oxygen.
Another of Hubble’s great discoveries is the verification of the existence of black holes, obtained by measuring the speed of stars and gaseous discs in the galactic nuclei, where black holes are found.
Astronomers have calculated that the mass of a black hole is at least 300 million times that of the Sun.