The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is one of the most important telescopes for astronomy because its technology has made it possible to find new stars and achieve significant advances at the beginning of the universe …
Orbiting almost 650 kilometers above Earth, the Hubble Space Telescope has been our most powerful window planning on the various star factories. He had a primary role in confirming the existence of black holes. In addition, it has managed to capture the cataclysmic end of stars much larger than our own sun.
Hubble confirms that the universe is in full and rapid expansion, a fact that could finally determine the total destruction of that same universe, data that convulses the ancient theory about the existence of this universe.
This telescope also gave us the first incredibly detailed images that show how embryonic stars are born from gas and dust emanating from the clouds. Hubble tracked the debris from a thousand-year-old supernova that still moves through space at an approximate speed of 5 million kilometers per hour, a fact that was first recorded by Chinese astronomers in 1054 AD
When scientists focused the Hubble on Jupiter, they managed to see in real-time the devastating effect of a comet whipping it. But soon we will lose forever to this 12-ton telescope as it is spiraling down towards Earth.
A group of astronauts will travel to space to repair it before it is completely closed and sent back to Earth.
The Hubble Space Telescope is located on the outer edges of the atmosphere, in a circular orbit around the Earth at 593 kilometers above sea level, which takes 96 to 97 minutes. It was put into orbit on April 24,1990, as a joint project of NASA and ESA. The telescope can obtain optical resolutions greater than 0, second arc. It has a weight of around 11,000 kilos, is cylindrical and has a length of 13.2 m and a maximum diameter of 4.2 meters.
The telescope is reflector and has two mirrors, having the main 2,4 meters in diameter. For the exploration of the sky, it incorporates several spectrometers and three cameras, one with a narrow field to photograph small areas of space (of weak brightness due to its distance), another with a wide field to obtain images of planets and a third infrared. Through two solar panels, it generates electricity that feeds the cameras, the four motors used to orient and stabilize the telescope and the infrared camera’s cooling equipment and the spectrometer that works at -180° C.
Since its launch, the telescope has received several visits from astronauts to correct various operating errors and install additional equipment. Due to the friction with the atmosphere (very tenuous at that height), the telescope is losing weight very slowly, gaining speed, so that each time it is visited, the space shuttle has to push it to a slightly higher orbit.
The advantage of having a telescope beyond the atmosphere is mainly that it absorbs certain wavelengths of the electromagnetic radiation that hits the Earth, especially in the infrared, which obscures the images obtained, decreasing its quality and limiting the range , or resolution, of ground telescopes. In addition, these are also affected by meteorological factors (presence of clouds) and light pollution caused by large urban settlements, which reduces the chances of the location of terrestrial telescopes.
Since it was put into orbit in 1990 to circumvent the distortion of the atmosphere – historically, the problem of all terrestrial telescopes -, Hubble has allowed scientists to see the Universe with clarity never achieved. With their observations, astronomers confirmed the existence of black holes, clarified ideas about the birth of the Universe in a large explosion, the Big Bang, which occurred about 13.7 billion years ago, and revealed new galaxies and systems in the most remote corners of the cosmos. Hubble also helped scientists establish that the solar system is much younger than the Universe.
In principle it was thought to bring the telescope back to Earth every five years for maintenance, and that there would also be a maintenance mission in space in each period. Subsequently, seeing the complications and risks involved in having the instrument returned to Earth and launching it again, it was decided that there would be a maintenance mission in space every three years, leaving the first one scheduled for December 1993. When soon Once it was launched, it was discovered that Hubble suffered from an optical aberration due to a construction error, those responsible began counting the days for this first maintenance mission, hoping that the optical error could be corrected.
Since in that first maintenance mission a system was installed to correct the telescope’s optics, sacrificing an instrument (the rapid photometer), Hubble has proved to be an instrument without equal, capable of making observations that continually impact on Our ideas about the Universe.
Hubble has provided dramatic images of the collision of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with the planet Jupiter in 1994, as well as evidence of the existence of planets orbiting other stars. Some of the observations that have led to the current model of the expanding universe were obtained with this telescope. The theory that most galaxies house a black hole in their nucleus has been partially confirmed by numerous observations.
In December 1995, the telescope photographed the deep field of Hubble, a region about thirty millionth of the area of the sky that contains several thousand galaxies. A similar image of the southern hemisphere was taken in 1998, with notable similarities between them, which has reinforced the principle that the structure of the Universe is independent of the direction in which it is viewed.
Space Telescope (HST): The Ultimate Hubble Frontier
Hubble is getting theorists to rethink some of their ideas regarding the age of the universe. In fact, the current understanding has placed them before a paradox. The most recent data provided by Hubble, according to Wilford, writer of scientific affairs for The New York Times, convincingly indicates that the universe may be much younger than scientists estimated. He may not be more than eight billion years old, instead of the previous calculations, which assigned him twenty billion. The problem is that it is assumed that some stars are about sixteen billion years old. No wonder, as he continues to say, the universe seems to want to deceive the cosmologists by throwing them with the effect the ball of the facts and thus demonstrating the unfortunate limitations of their knowledge. He also adds: Those who are dedicated to the study of the universe must accept the probability that, however brilliant and ingenious they may be, they will not be able to answer many fundamental questions.