The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is the first space telescope of mankind. It has a total length of more than 13 meters and a mass of more than 11 tons. It runs in an orbit about 600 kilometers from the ground on the outer edge of the earth’s atmosphere. It orbits the earth approximately every 100 minutes. The Hubble Telescope was launched into orbit in 1990 with the cooperation of NASA and the European Space Agency. The Hubble Telescope is named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble. According to the plan, it will be replaced by the James Webb Space Telescope in 2013. The Hubble Telescope’s angular resolution is less than 0.1 second, and 3 to 5 gigabytes of data can be acquired every day.
Because it operates in outer space, the images obtained by the Hubble Telescope are not affected by atmospheric disturbance and refraction and can obtain images of the infrared spectrum that are usually absorbed by the atmosphere.
Hubble data is analyzed and processed by astronomers and scientists from the Space Telescope Institute. The institute belongs to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
The idea of the Hubble Space Telescope dates back to 1946. The telescope was designed in the 1970s and cost about 2 billion US dollars to build and launch. The NASA Marshall Space Flight Center is responsible for the design, development and construction of the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA’s Gundam Space Flight Center is responsible for scientific equipment and ground control. PerkinElmer is responsible for manufacturing the lenses, and Lockheed is responsible for building the telescope body.
The telescope was launched with the space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990. It was originally scheduled to take off in 1986, but since the Challenger bombing in January of that year, the launch date has been postponed.
The first batch of images sent back to the earth disappointed many people including astronomers. Because of the wrong thickness of the lenses made by PerkinElmer, the severe spherical aberration was produced, the images were rather hazy.
- Maintenance tasks (1)
The clear images taken after replacing the equipment are much clearer than before. The first mission was named STS-61. It added many new instruments in December 1993, including:
Replace the high-speed photometer (HSP) with COSTAR.
Replace the WFPC camera with the WFPC2 camera.
Replace the solar collector.
Replace two RSUs, including four gyroscopes.
The mission to change the orbit was declared complete on January 13, 1994, and the first clear images were taken and sent back to Earth.
- Maintenance tasks (2)
The second mission, named STS-81, began in February 1997. The telescope had two instruments and multiple hardware replaced.
- Maintenance tasks (3) Task A
3A is called STS-103 and started in December 1999.
- Maintenance task (3) Task B
3B is named STS-109 and started in March 2002.
On the 31st birthday of the Hubble Telescope, Mama Universe gave it a super clear photo as a birthday present. In the image, we can see that the mass ejection produced a 5 light-year-old shell composed of gas and dust clouds, which is wider than our distance to the nearest star, Proxima Centauri.
Such a magnificent scene originated from one or more large-scale mass ejections ten thousand years ago. After the explosion, the outer layer of the star spread out into space, just as if the lid of a teapot popped from a boiling teapot. These expelled substances are 10 times the mass of the sun.