Time to say goodbye to the Hubble telescope?
The very famous telescope of NASA which was said to be the "eye of earth in the universe" has shut down. 'The Hubble telescope', which was launched in 1990 to unfold the truths of the universe has bade goodbye to scientists. After nearly serving for 3 decades, the telescope has now stopped sending signals and capturing images.
What's the significance of the Hubble telescope?
The Hubble telescope was the most powerful of all telescopes in the 1990s. It could detect and study the ray of light in near infrared, visible light and ultraviolet light also. It could study a ray that originated even 11 billion years ago. This is why it was capable of studying the expansion and formation of the universe. It could see beyond human vision. It captured many secrets of the universe in pictures which gave a new direction to astronomy. It was not just a telescope. It was said to be the "eye of the earth in the universe".
On 4th March 2016, NASA released the image of a red dot which was actually the infancy stage of a galaxy. It took many years to reach us. In the past 30 years, Hubble has sent many such astonishing images that have given new perspectives to humans.
The Hubble telescope was manufactured and engineered by Lockheed Martin and Perkin Elmer respectively. It was launched by Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-31) rocket from Kennedy Space Station located on Merritt Island in Florida. Its weight was 11,110 kg and the diameter of its mirror was 2.4 meter.
Why has it stopped working?
The Hubble telescope was estimated to decay between 2030 to 2040. But scientists have reported that its payload computer which operates spacecraft's scientific instruments went down suddenly on June 13th, 2021. So, currently it is not snapping pictures and not collecting any data. Scientists have put the telescope in the 'safe mode' and are trying to rectify the problem in the science instrument command handling unit (SI C&DH).
Why was the Hubble telescope launched?
In 1986, when the spacecraft of NASA called 'Challenger' failed and killed 7 astronomers with it, it was a big setback in the history of NASA.
Hubble was launched in 1990 into the low earth orbital. It aimed to study black holes and formation of the universe. Charlie Pallerin was incharge of this mission. After the launch, it's speed at lower earth orbit was 5 miles per second. With such huge speed, it was capable of taking a clear picture due the gyroscope which helped it in balancing its camera. It was built in a way to catch each and every ray of light countering it.
Has the Hubble telescope been ever repaired?
After the launch of the telescope in 1990, when it sent its first image, it was a blurred image. The mirror of the telescope could not establish itself properly. The world mocked NASA for spending 2 billion USD and so many years to capture blurred pictures. Scientists tried to fix this problem and sent a manned mission for this difficult task.
So, a servicing mission was sent in Dec 1993, which replaced the high speed photometer with a Costar. In the next few days, Hubble sent its first clear image that not only helped the scientific community to unfold the secrets of the universe but also astonished the world.
Since its launch, it has been repaired 5 times with updated equipment to enhance its efficiency and performance.
How did the Hubble telescope get its name?
The Hubble telescope had been named after the renowned scientist of NASA Edwin Powell Hubble. He played a pivotal role in the arena of extragalactic astronomy and observational cosmology. He was the one to coin the term 'nebulae' and explained it as the group of galaxies.
What has been the contribution of the Hubble telescope to astronomy?
Hubble has helped the scientific community to count not only the stars but also the galaxies. It has helped scientists understand the expansion of the universe. Pixel by pixel clear images of Hubble have unfolded the new era of astronomy where we are very close to understanding the formation of the universe.
What will NASA do after the Hubble telescope?
NASA has built and launched a new telescope called 'James Webb Space Telescope' . It is said to be 100 times more powerful than the Hubble telescope. It is smaller than Hubble but more significant and efficient than that. The new telescope JWST was launched with the help of a French company on 25th December 2021. JWST can be proved a mirror into the past and can solve the mystery of formation of the universe.