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jueves, 24 de abril de 2014

NASA : NASA Hubble Instruments Highlight New National Air and Space Museum Exhibit


This photograph of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope was taken on the second servicing mission to the observatory in 1997. Credit: NASA› Larger image

From the dawn of humankind to a mere 400 years ago, all that we knew about our universe came through observations with the naked eye. Then Galileo turned his telescope toward the heavens in 1610. The world was in for an awakening.
Saturn, we learned, had rings. Jupiter had moons. That nebulous patch across the center of the sky called the Milky Way was not a cloud but a collection of countless stars. Within but a few years, our notion of the natural world would be forever changed. A scientific and societal revolution quickly ensued.
In the centuries that followed, telescopes grew in size and complexity and, of course, power. They were placed far from city lights and as far above the haze of the atmosphere as possible. Edwin Hubble, for whom the Hubble Telescope is named, used the largest telescope of his day in the 1920s at the Mt. Wilson Observatory near Pasadena, Calif., to discover galaxies beyond our own.
Hubble, the observatory, is the first major optical telescope to be placed in space, the ultimate mountaintop. Above the distortion of the atmosphere, far far above rain clouds and light pollution, 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. Our view of the universe and our place within it has never been the same.

Hubble Facts

  • Hubble does not travel to stars, planets or galaxies. It takes pictures of them as it whirls around Earth at 17,500 mph.
  • NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has made more than 930,000 observations and snapped more than 570,000 images of 30,000 celestial objects since its mission began in 1990.
  • Hubble has circled Earth more than 110,000 times.
  • With those trips, Hubble has racked up plenty of frequent-flier miles, about 2.8 billion, which is Neptune's average distance from the sun.
  • More than two decades of Hubble observations have produced more than 45 terabytes of data, enough information to fill nearly 5,800 DVDs.
  • Each month the orbiting observatory generates more than 360 gigabytes of data, which could fill the storage space of an average home computer.
  • About 4,000 astronomers from all over the world have used the telescope to probe the universe.
  • Astronomers using Hubble data have published more than 8,700 scientific papers, making it one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built. In 2009 scientists published 648 journal articles on Hubble telescope data.
  • Hubble weighs 24,500 pounds -- as much as two full-grown elephants.
  • Hubble's primary mirror is 2.4 meters (7 feet, 10.5 inches) across -- taller than retired NBA player Gheorghe Muresan, who is 2.3 meters (7 feet, 7 inches) tall. Muresan is the tallest man ever to play in the NBA.
  • Hubble is 13.3 meters (43.5 feet) long -- the length of a large school bus.

History of Hubble

The Hubble Story

A detailed look at the Hubble Space Telescope from idea to conception to blast off into space. Learn all about the project from its infancy to the maturing telescope it was when launched in 1990.

Historical Milestones of the Hubble Project
Explore the development of the Hubble Space Telescope and learn about the important dates in history that has contributed to the success of the telescope.




Hubble Sees Galaxies Spiraling around Leo
Shown here is a spiral galaxy known as NGC 3455, which lies some 65 million light-years away from us in the constellation of Leo (the Lion).
Galaxies are classified into different types according to their structure and appearance. This classification system is known as the Hubble Sequence, named after its creator Edwin Hubble.
In this image released 14, April, 2014, NGC 3455 is known as a type SB galaxy — a barred spiral. Barred spiral galaxies account for approximately two thirds of all spirals. Galaxies of this type appear to have a bar of stars slicing through the bulge of stars at their center. The SB classification is further sub-divided by the appearance of a galaxy's pinwheeling spiral arms; SBa types have more tightly wound arms, whereas SBc types have looser ones. SBb types, such as NGC 3455, lie in between.
NGC 3455 is part of a pair of galaxies — its partner, NGC 3454, lies out of frame. This cosmic duo belong to a group known as the NGC 3370 group, which is in turn one of the Leo II groups, a large collection of galaxies scattered some 30 million light-years to the right of the Virgo cluster.
This image is from Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys.
European Space Agency
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Nick Rose
 
NASA Hubble Instruments Highlight New National Air and Space Museum Exhibit
Two instruments that played critical roles in discoveries made by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope now are on display in an exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington.
"Repairing Hubble" recognizes the 24th anniversary of Hubble's launch into space aboard space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990. The exhibit features Hubble's Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR) instrument and the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2).
Soon after Hubble began sending back images in 1990, scientists discovered the telescope's primary mirror had a flaw called spherical aberration. The outer edge of the mirror was ground too flat by a depth of 4 microns, which is roughly equal to one-fiftieth the thickness of a human hair. The flaw resulted in images that were fuzzy because some of the light from the objects being studied was being scattered. After the amount of aberration was understood, scientists and engineers developed WFPC2 and COSTAR, which were installed in Hubble during the first space shuttle servicing mission in 1993.
COSTAR deployed corrective optics in front of three of Hubble's first generation instruments – the Faint Object Camera, the Goddard High Resolution Spectrometer, and the Faint Object Spectrograph. COSTAR could not correct the vision for the Wide Field/Planetary Camera (WFPC) currently on Hubble. So, a replacement instrument, which was already in work as an upgrade, was hastened to completion as WFPC2. WFPC and WFPC2 were built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.
WFPC2 was separately fitted with corrective optics to compensate for the scattered light from the primary mirror. This allowed the camera to record razor-sharp images of celestial objects – from nearby planets to remote galaxies -- for more than 15 years. A landmark observation was the Hubble Deep Field taken in 1995. This long-exposure captured the light of 4,000 galaxies stretching 12 billion years back into time.
WFPC2 was one of Hubble's main cameras until the Advanced Camera for Surveys was installed in 2002. WFPC2's 48 filters allowed scientists to study precise wavelengths of light and to sense a range of wavelengths from ultraviolet to near-infrared light.
COSTAR and WFPC2 were removed from Hubble in 2009 during the fifth and final shuttle servicing mission and returned to Earth. COSTAR's removal made way for the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph. WFPC2 was replaced by Wide Field Camera 3.
Development of the National Air and Space Museum exhibit was supported by NASA, including the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. The exhibit was designed and constructed by museum staff.
A reception at the National Air and Space Museum Wednesday featured presentations by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who was the pilot for Discovery during the Hubble deployment mission in 1990; Gen. J.R. "Jack" Dailey, museum director; John Grunsfeld, NASA's Science Mission Directorate associate administrator and astronaut on several shuttle Hubble servicing missions; and John Trauger, former WFPC2 principal investigator at JPL. The presentations will air on NASA Television. For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit:
For more information about the new Hubble exhibit and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, visit:
For more information about the WFPC2, visit:
For more information about NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, visit:
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NASA
Guillermo Gonzalo Sánchez Achutegui