“The History of the Hubble Telescope”
By: Steven Radziul
Since the Age of Man and Woman, We have been staring up into the sky, wondering clearly what is out there. The stars and planets have always been our close neighbors, from navigation, to philosophy and even religion, the stars and planets have always been our friend. Man has stood to the highest peak staring out into the sky, wondering clearly to see what is out there. He has invented instruments for which to see further and further, wanting to learn about himself.
Since the earliest days of Man, We have strived to see higher, to see more, to see deeper, and to finally see farther. The newest discoveries started with the time of Galileo, and the first “modern” telescopes, pointed up to the skies, just to see what is out there. Since then we have strived to improve our abilities to see way out there. The latest discoveries and breakthrough in discovery through the use of telescopes, is that of the space telescopes themselves. One of the famous space based telescopes, as well as one of the more famous projects put out by NASA, is that of the “Hubble Space Telescope”.
Learning about the worlds around us, allows us to learn about our own “Man Kind”. We are “star stuff”, we are made of the stuff which stars are made from. From the gases, to the elements, what is out there, we can find here. As We explore the world around us, we begin to learn more about our own existence, how we live, where we came from, and perhaps where we are going in the near future. Technology developed in space exploration, also helps us to learn about our own selves. Achievements which we discover out there, help us to gain achievements down here on our own planet, from geology, to biology, to even medical. Perhaps even someday, we will find another planet for which we can live on, and who even knows, maybe even people who are like us, and those aliens everyone keeps talking about. This is why space exploration is so important. Man’s greatest achievement in life, is pure knowledge. it is what gives us power, and understanding ourselves, our neighbors, and beyond the milky way, helps us to truly grow and expand as people.
In the year of the 1990, came the birth of the Hubble Space Telescope, a telescope for which orbits the earth every ninety seven minutes, at approximately five miles per second. This is enough to cross the entire United States, in approximately 10 minutes. The Hubble Telescope hovers approximately 353 miles, above the surface of the earth, solving problems for which the earth based telescopes battle, for which will be discussed later in this paper.
The Hubble Telescope is a mirror based telescope, using mirrors within the telescope to reflect light. It is classified and known as a “Cassegrain Reflector”, which takes light into the telescope, and the light is focused on the telescope’s main primary mirror, bouncing the light off the primary mirror, to secondary mirrors, which then reflect the light back through a hole in the center of the primary mirror, for which the light enters the telescope’s scientific instruments, which include cameras, and other recording devices, which give us the images, and instrument readings down to earth.
Mirror based telescopes, work by collecting more light than the human eye can actually capture on its own, the larger the mirror, the more powerful the telescope. Hubble’s Primary mirror is 94.5 inches (or 2.4 meters) in diameter. It is quite smaller than most ground based mirrors in similar telescope configurations, which can grow to be almost 400 inches in length and higher. However, because of Hubble’s distance above the ground, passing our atmosphere, and out in clear space, gives it, it’s incredible power over other ground based telescopes.
Now, you might ask yourself, why exactly is a space telescope so important, and able to be more powerful than that of a telescope on the ground?...