The Hubble Space Telescope is a well-known telescope that has captured countless stunning images of outer space since its launch in 1990. But what makes this telescope so special? In this quizlet, we will explore the type of telescope that the Hubble is and what sets it apart from other telescopes on Earth and in space.
The Birth of the Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope, or HST, was named after renowned astronomer Edwin Hubble, who first discovered that the universe was expanding. This telescope was the brainchild of Lyman Spitzer, a theoretical physicist who proposed the idea of a space observatory in the 1940s. His vision was to develop a tool that could capture high-quality images of the cosmos free from the distorting effects of Earth’s atmosphere. After years of planning and development, the HST was finally launched into low Earth orbit in April 1990.
The Hubble Space Telescope’s Design
The HST is a reflecting telescope, which means that it uses mirrors to collect and focus light. The primary mirror of the telescope measures 2.4 meters (7.9 feet) in diameter and weighs 828 kilograms (1,825 pounds). The telescope’s secondary mirror is small and lightweight, measuring only 30 centimeters (12 inches) in diameter. This design allows the HST to capture high-resolution images of celestial objects with great clarity and precision.
The HST’s mission is to capture stunning images of the universe and to help scientists better understand its origins, structure, and evolution. Using a variety of scientific instruments, the HST has made numerous groundbreaking discoveries, including the first measurement of the rate of expansion of the universe, the discovery of dark energy, and the identification of thousands of previously unknown galaxies.
How Does the Hubble Space Telescope Work?
The HST is equipped with a suite of scientific instruments that allow it to capture images of the universe in various wavelengths of light, from ultraviolet to near-infrared. These instruments include the Wide Field Camera 3, the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, and the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, among others.
The HST’s Imaging Capabilities
The HST’s imaging capabilities are truly remarkable. Its high-resolution cameras can capture images with a resolution of up to 0.04 arcseconds, which is equivalent to being able to read the lettering on a dime from a distance of over 500 kilometers (300 miles). The telescope can also capture images of extremely faint objects, thanks to its ability to collect light over long periods of time.
The HST’s Spectroscopic Capabilities
In addition to its imaging capabilities, the HST is also equipped with advanced spectroscopic instruments that can analyze the light emitted by celestial objects. By studying the spectra of stars and galaxies, scientists can learn about their composition, temperature, and motion. This information can then be used to better understand the structure and evolution of the universe.
The Impact of the Hubble Space Telescope
The HST has had a profound impact on our understanding of the universe. Its stunning images have captured the public’s imagination and inspired countless people to pursue careers in science and astronomy. The telescope has also enabled scientists to make numerous groundbreaking discoveries, including the existence of dark matter and dark energy, the confirmation of the Big Bang theory, and the identification of countless new galaxies and exoplanets.
Key takeaway: The Hubble Space Telescope has revolutionized our understanding of the universe and inspired future space exploration missions. Its legacy will continue to shape our understanding of the cosmos and our place within it for years to come.