Hubble Space Telescope

Space telescopes were first suggested in 1923, but it wasn’t until twenty-six years later, in 1946, that the notion of using a rocket to send a telescope into space first came under real consideration and the road to the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was started. There were two main reasons why the idea appealed to astronomers. First, the turbulence or earth’s atmosphere affects the way we view stars. This is because the atmosphere refracts the light and decreases the angular resolution, which is the distance in which things can still be separated. So two planets orbiting a star might look like a single star from the earth. Putting a telescope beyond the atmosphere would solve this problem. Twenty years after Lyman Spitzer propose the possibility, he was put in charge of the committee at NASA that sought to do exactly that and that’s when the HST mission really started. After seeking funding for nearly two decades, the Hubble was going to be launched in 1983, but a series of problems and disasters, including the Challenger, delayed the launch until 1990. Once in orbit, it was discovered that the glass lens had been ground wrong, thus limiting the telescopes usefulness. However, it was repaired on a servicing mission, and it has been sending photographs back to earth ever since.

Hubble has been serviced four times and required a fifth servicing mission to continue its mission. At first, the fifth mission was cancelled, but after much protest and spirited debate, it is set for October 2008, which will prolong the usefulness and the life of the HST, a telescope that has captured the imagination and wonder of thousands of people.

Related Information

Handheld Brass Telescopes
Handheld brass telescopes are small and collapsible, allowing for easy usage everywhere.

Sky and Telescope
Sky and telescope models offer a diverse amount of information concerning astronomy and the current events it contains.

Telescopes | Astronomy | Cosmos Telescopes | Astronomy | Cosmos