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** May 20, 1990: Hubble Opens Its Eye … and Blinks!

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posted on May, 20 2010 @ 10:19 AM
1990: The Hubble Space Telescope sends its first image back to Earth.

The new telescope’s imaging prowess clearly exceeded that of the best ground-based telescopes, as shown in the image above of stars in the Carina cluster. But after a few weeks, scientists began to realize something was amiss. Hubble’s images weren’t as sharp as they should be. A NASA investigation discovered that the telescope’s 8-foot primary mirror had been ground just a little bit too flat around the edges due to a miscalibrated measuring instrument.

Though the slightly blurry images were still good enough for scientists to see space as never before and do ground-breaking research, the mirror’s aberration meant Hubble would not be able to complete some of its mission, and its images wouldn’t be as spectacular as they could be. This would have been hugely disappointing for the many scientists and engineers who had been dreaming of — and working toward — launching a telescope into space since the National Academy of Science formed a committee to study the possibility in 1966.

A heroic effort to devise a fix for the problem before the space shuttle was due to visit Hubble in 1993 was able to correct the flaw and rescue the mission. Astronauts replaced the telescope’s Wide Field/Planetary Camera with the Wide Field/Planetary Camera 2, which compensated for the mirror aberration.

If the repair had not succeeded, the Hubble Space Telescope almost certainly would not have come to occupy its current place in the hearts of people across the world. It’s the astonishing detail of Hubble’s images that has turned people on to space for the last 17 years, as one of the telescope’s most recent shots of the Carina Nebula demonstrates.

The mirror issue was not the only setback the Hubble mission has faced over the years. The telescope was originally scheduled to launch in 1983, but though the mirror was finished in time, the entire optical apparatus didn’t come together until 1984. The entire spacecraft was ready to go by 1985, and slotted for launch in October 1986, but the Challenger disaster in January of that year halted shuttle flights for two years. Hubble finally made its way into space aboard Discovery on April 24, 1990.


I know there has been a lot of threads about Hubble and it's recent accomplishments but I wanted to toss this one into the mix as not to foget where and when it all began.

Sees like forever now, but it was just 1990. Twenty years and look what the lovely device has done for mankind and space exploration. If we could do it, I would like to see a fleet of them set loose-towards all kinds of directions.

Well, one can also see the obvious difference between Earth-based and Space-based telescopes from the pic at top.

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 11:05 AM
Visible astronomy always has that WOW! factor and I cant see that changing much very soon.

On a local level its the difference between naked eye observing and comparing that with observations with even the most basic of!

Lets do the same but exchange the binos for a half decent!

Less than clear skies can benefit from a little technology, walking the dog recently the stars were visible, just not that many of them. Back to the house and picked up a night vision!

My equipment is far from expensive, but coupled with a little education and the laptop, provides endless awe and amazement. I can remember the first time I clearly saw Saturn and again with the Andromeda galaxy.....WOW!

Wheel on something as amazing as the Hubble and we're back to square one, but in another edition of the saga. The first images were like nothing available here, but evolved into even better or 'deeper' images.

My favourite Hubble image is actually pretty..I hesitate to say bland, but lets say not as exciting as some we've seen. The image being the one that they left Hubble trained on a boring blank spot for an extended period of time.

Wow !

My god...its full of stars!

posted on May, 20 2010 @ 01:14 PM
reply to post by Tie No Bows!

Wow, I guess you really like star gazing,

I am glad you liked the thread.

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