Thursday, May 05, 2005

Hubble Space Telescope

The $2 billion Edwin P. Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was launch by the Space Shuttle Discovery on April 25, 1990.
Position: 600 km above the Earth.
Weight: 11 tonnes
Length: 13.2 m
Diametre: 4.2 m
Equipted since 2002 with ACS (Advanced Camera for Surveys). It consists of three electronic cameras and a complement of filters and dispersers that detect light from the ultraviolet to the near infrared (1200 - 10,000 angstroms). Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS)
Hubble orbits the Earth every 95 minutes. Distance travelled: Over 4.8 billion kms.
Every day, Hubble delivers between 10 and 15 gigabytes of data to astronomers all over the world. This has created a data archive of over 10 terabytes.
Taken more than 400,000 separate observations.
Hubble has observed more than 25,000 astronomical targets.
Hubble has provided data for thousands of scientific papers.

The Hubble helped for the discovery of dark energy; prove the existance of massive black holes; provide sharp views of a comet hitting Jupiter; show the forming planetary systems in common throughout the galaxy and help calculate the age of the Universe and its expansion.
Hubble is slated to be decommissioned in 2010 and replaced by the next-generation James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to be launched in 2011. The new observatory will have a primary mirror that is 20 ft in diameter, compared to the Hubble's 8-foot reflector.

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