What Is the Hubble Space Telescope?

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Feb 23, 2023, 13:15

The Hubble Space Telescope is a large telescope roaming in space and was launched into orbit on 24th April 1990 by the space shuttle discovery. Hubble Space Telescope orbits about 547 kilometres (340 miles) above. Hubble Space Telescope travels about 5 miles per second, and it is solar-powered.

Hubble Space Telescope's job is to take sharp and clear pictures of objects in the sky, such as stars, planets, and galaxies. Till now, Hubble Space Telescope has achieved a milestone of over one million observations, which includes detailed clear pictures of the birth and death of stars, galaxies seen from a distance of billions of light-years, and pieces of a comet hitting the atmosphere of Jupiter.

Scientists have learned a lot about the universe from these pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope which are also beautiful to look at.

How Is Hubble Different From Telescopes on Earth?

The atmosphere of Earth changes constantly and blocks the light that comes from space. Hubble Space Telescope orbits above Earth's atmosphere and gives it a better view of the universe than telescopes have at ground level.

The name Hubble is named after an American astronomer, Edwin P. Hubble. He showed that the galaxy containing the solar system, i.e. the "Milky Way", was only one out of many galaxies.

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Instruments installed on the Hubble Space Telescope

  • The Fine Guidance Sensors are part of the Pointing Control System and give the Hubble Space Telescope the right direction.
  • The Hubble Space Telescope can lock onto a target one mile away without moving more than the width of a human hair.
  • Once the target is locked, Hubble Space Telescope's primary mirror collects light, which ultimately shines on Hubble's scientific instruments.
  • Hubble Space Telescope has five scientific instruments, including cameras and spectrographs.
  • The Wide Field Camera is the main camera of the Hubble Space Telescope. Its functionality is to study the formation of galaxies on the planets in the solar system.
  • The Cosmic Origins Spectrograph mainly reads ultraviolet light. This spectrograph studies how stars, galaxies, and planets formed and changed.
  • The Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph plays an important role in helping scientists keep track of the chemical composition, temperature, density, and motion of objects in space. It has also played an important role in detecting black holes.

Hubble Space Telescope - Important Discoveries

Scientists use the images taken by Hubble in estimating the size and age of the universe. Due to this, now scientists have concluded that the universe is almost 14 billion years old. The scientists have captured an image named "Hubble Ultra Deep Field" with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope which shows the farthest galaxies we have ever seen.

Hubble Space Telescope has also detected black holes. A black hole sucks in everything around them, including light. The Hubble Space Telescope has played a vital role in discovering dark energy as well as a mysterious force behind the expansion of the universe faster and faster with time. And it has also revealed detail of gamma-ray bursts, i.e. powerful explosions of energy that occur during the collapse of massive stars.

Hubble Space Telescope turned 32 years old in 2022. It was designed by the engineers so that it could be repaired and upgraded as needed.

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FAQs on Hubble Space Telescope

Q1. Where is Hubble Space Telescope now?

Ans. Hubble Space Telescope has currently deployed about 547 km (340 miles) above Earth's surface, where it completes 15 orbits per day, i.e. approximately every 95 minutes.

Q2. Is Hubble Space Telescope still working in space?

Ans. Hubble Space Telescope has been operating for over 31 years since 1990, collecting ground-breaking scientific observations.

Q3. What is the use of the Hubble Space Telescope?

Ans. Hubble Space Telescope is used by scientists to observe the stars, galaxies, and planets which are far away from us in our solar system.

Q4. What makes the Hubble Space Telescope so special?

Ans. Due to the Hubble Space Telescope, we could see objects more clearly as it deployed above the clouds in Earth's atmosphere.

Q5. What does the word Hubble mean in the Hubble Space Telescope?

Ans. Hubble Space Telescope is named after an American astronomer, Edwin P. Hubble.