Hubble Space Telescope

Definition: Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a space telescope named after renowned astronomer Edwin Hubble. It was launched in 1990 and is one of the great observatories of NASA.

Hubble was created with a need to capture high-resolution images of universe. It is capable of taking high-resolution images with negligible background light. History: Though the HST launched in 1990, the idea of making this telescope struck scientists way back in 1923. It was funded in 1970 and supposed to be launched in 1980 but due to the budget problem it got launched in 1990. After the launch of the telescope, the first fewer images it returned were not that sharper as desired and the best image quality was lower than expected. It happened because primary mirror was incorrectly grounded in terms of shape.

Initially, considering the cost of telescope and the output, it was called a ‘white elephant’. After that the error was identified and some optical corrections were done by using sophisticated image processing techniques. Maintenance and Support: HST has the ground support for maintenance and several operations which are conducted by The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). STScI is responsible for the delivery of data captured by HST to astronomers. Technology: It uses optical science to capture images. HST is a very big space telescope. It is capable of collecting plenty of light thereby letting us to see fainter objects too.

The telescope only takes pictures in shades of black and white.

The dazzling snaps of nebulae, supernovae and galaxies captured by Hubble are usually only released after having undergone a postproduction process to add color. Hubble’s onboard digital cameras only take photos as gray-scale pixels, so astronomers make multiple exposures of the same object using different filters—typically red, blue and green—to capture various wavelengths of light. These are then overlaid to create a single color composite. Since Hubble can see in the ultraviolet and infrared ranges, scientists also occasionally insert additional color into the images to bring out details that would otherwise remain invisible to the human eye.

Some Facts:

The telescope was several decades in the making.

The launch was delayed by the Challenger disaster.

A faulty mirror nearly derailed Hubble’s mission before it started.

It’s responsible for the deepest images of the universe ever recorded.

Hubble technology helped lead to better methods for detecting breast cancer.

Its observations have settled many longstanding debates in cosmology.

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