Nov 30, 2019

What's in a Name, Hubble

Edwin Hubble (d 1953), for whom the Hubble Telescope is named, used the largest telescope of his day in the 1920s at the Mt. Wilson Observatory in California, to discover galaxies beyond our own.

Hubble, the observatory, is the first major optical telescope to be placed in space. Hubble has an unobstructed view of the universe. Scientists have used Hubble to observe the most distant stars and galaxies as well as the planets in our solar system.

Hubble's launch and deployment in April 1990 marked the most significant advance in astronomy since Galileo's telescope. Thanks to five servicing missions and more than 25 years of operation, our view of the universe and our place within it has never been the same.

Incidentally, The telescope is able to lock onto a target without deviating more than 7/1000th of an arcsecond, or about the width of a human hair seen at a distance of 1 mile, and also like being able to shine a laser beam on President Roosevelt’s head on a dime from 200 miles away.

It has made more than 1.3 million observations since its mission began in 1990.

Hubble has circled Earth and gone more than 4 billion miles along a circular low earth orbit. Its primary mirror is 2.4 meters (7 feet, 10.5 inches) across. It was so finely polished that if you scaled it to be the diameter of the Earth, you would not find a bump more than 6 inches tall.

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