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Hubble Telescope Celebrates 25 Years


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The Hubble Telescope in orbit. Photo: NASA

The launch of the Hubble Space telescope on April 24, 1990 is said to have ushered in a golden age of astronomy.

In Hubble’s 25 years it has taken 38,000 observations and traveled more than 3 billion miles in orbit.

Data collected from Hubble helped astronomer’s pin-point the age of the universe. It’s also used to navigate deep space probes like New Horizon – which is heading to Pluto.

Josh Colwell, a planetary scientist at the University of Central Florida, said Hubble’s observations shaped the way astronomers study the universe. “It was discovered, with the help of Hubble data, that the expansion of the universe is actually accelerating, and this is what lead to dark energy,” he said.

Hubble can see so far away – and so clear – you can see planets being formed. “Hubble has taken some exquisite images of the discs of dust and debris around newly forming stars that shows that initial process of the birth of a solar system actually taking place,” said Colwell.

Hubble is expected to continue operating well into 2020. Hubble’s successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, heads to orbit in 2018.

 


 

EricFordDr. Eric Ford is the director of the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds at Penn State University, and he’ll be giving a talk at the Kennedy Space Center Saturday about Hubble.

He spoke with 90.7’s Matthew Peddie to explain the significance of the telescope. Listen to that conversation:

 


 

Hubble Photos (Image Credit: HubbleSite.org)

Horsehead Nebula. The Horsehead Nebula is part of a much larger complex in the constellation Orion.

Horsehead Nebula. The Horsehead Nebula is part of a much larger complex in the constellation Orion.

 

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Westerlund 2, a giant cluster of about 3,000 stars.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured a rare look at three of Jupiter's largest moons parading across the banded face of the gas-giant planet: Europa, Callisto, and Io.

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured a rare look at three of Jupiter’s largest moons parading across the banded face of the gas-giant planet: Europa, Callisto, and Io.

Cat's Eye Neubula

Cat’s Eye Neubula

Pillars of Creation in a Star-Forming Region: Gas Pillars in the Eagle Nebula

Pillars of Creation in a Star-Forming Region: Gas Pillars in the Eagle Nebula

 


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