Tag Archives: telescope

New and improved Hubble

By now, you probably all know that the Hubble Space Telescope is back in business after its repairs in May. (Notwithstanding its imaging of the Jupiter impact in July, which was done by taking time out of its calibration phase.) The repairs did not merely replace aging instruments, but replaced them with better instruments incorporating advances in technology. It shows, with recently released images revealing more details than ever before. And what's more is that each image requires a lot less time to be taken, which means more observations can be done by Hubble.

As an example of how much the Hubble Space Telescope has improved, compare images of NGC 6302, the Butterfly Nebula, taken before and after the repairs:

Before

Before

After

After

Hubble is back in the running

Interacting galaxies
Interacting galaxies

The Hubble Space Telescope gave us a bit of a scare when one of its networking equipment broke down and even the backup system looked like it failed. So it's great news that the backup system is back in shape, which they checked out by getting images of two interacting galaxies and having the telescope sending them to us. It also means that the servicing mission to the Hubble is back on track. Not too bad for an eighteen-year old space telescope ...

Happy 100,000th birthday, Hubble!

Small portion of the nebula near the star cluster NGC 2074

Happy 100,000th birthday, Hubble! And I'm talking about the Hubble Space Telescope, not the astronomer Edwin Hubble, and I'm talking in terms of Hubble years in a geocentric model, where one Hubble year equals one revolution around the Earth. The space observatory has made more than 100,000 orbits around the Earth, and in more familiar terms, it has been in operation for over 18 years (and yes, I mean 18 normal Earth years).

To celebrate the occasion, scientists aimed the Hubble towards the Large Magellanic Cloud and took images of a lively star-forming region 170,000 light-years away. Here's hoping for several more years of productive science coming out of Hubble.