Facts about the Hubble Space Telescope
When it comes to what is probably the most famous telescope of all time, the facts about the Hubble Space Telescope can be fascinating. Other than just specifications regarding its capabilities, there is much to be learned when we look at the facts surrounding the Hubble Space Telescope.
It was launched into space in 1990 aboard the space shuttle discovery. Hubble’s orbit above the Earth’s distorting atmosphere allows astronomers to make the very high resolution observations that are essential to open new windows onto planets, stars and galaxies.
Hubble was designed as a high standard flagship mission and has paved the way for other space-based observatories. Notably it can access the otherwise invisible ultraviolet part of the spectrum, and also has access to areas of the infrared not visible from the ground. That makes this fact about the Hubble Space Telescope especially important for astronomers.
At the heart of Hubble are a 2.4 m primary mirror and a collection of five science instruments that work across the entire optical spectrum – from infrared, through the visible, to ultraviolet light. There is one camera, three combined camera/spectrographs and a set of fine guidance sensors onboard Hubble.
Hubble was designed to be serviced in space, allowing outdated instruments to be replaced. The telescope was placed into a low-Earth orbit by the Space Shuttle and uses modular components so that it can be recovered on subsequent Shuttle Servicing missions and faulty or outdated parts more easily replaced before being re-released into orbit.
Here are some specific facts about the Hubble Space Telescope:
* It is powered by two solar panels as well as six nickel-hydrogen batteries
* A system of reaction wheels maneuvers the telescope into place and its position in space is monitored by gyroscopes. Fine Guidance Sensors (FGS) are used to lock onto guide stars to ensure the extremely high pointing accuracy needed to make very accurate observations.
* It is 13.3 meters in length and 4.2 meters in diameter
* It weighed 11,110 kilograms at the time of its launch
* Instruments on board include two cameras, a spectrograph and a spectrometer
* It has a circular orbit of 589 kilometers above the ground and is inclined at 28.5 degrees to the Equator. The time for one orbit is between 96 and 97 minutes.
The Hubble Space Telescope has provided facts and information to astronomers that have proven to be very valuable in the field. Without it, we wouldn’t know as much as we do about space and the Earth as well. The fact is that the Hubble Space Telescope is a very important part of the history of the space program.