The Humble Hubble Telescope – Our eyes in the sky

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Have you ever wondered how humanity was born? After all, it’s in our nature to be curious, and the universe is another mystery we long to uncover. Our interest in space dates back thousands of years before the common era, when Eastern cultures observed and recorded the movements of the sun, moon and stars. From these observations, sundials, star charts, and calendars were created to track hours, days, months, and years. In particular, it was useful for agricultural purposes to identify harvest seasons and for sailors to navigate the seas. As technology advanced, mankind explored the moon, launched satellites, and sent rovers to other planets in our galaxy.

Humanity has speculated about the origins of the universe from the beginning and found solace in religion and supernatural beliefs. Our curiosity pushed us to ask ourselves the big questions: where do we come from? Are there other intelligent life forms in the universe? Is there really a God? Thanks to the Hubble telescope, we are beginning to formulate answers to some of these questions.

The Hubble Telescope, named after astronomer Edwin Hubble, is the size of a large school bus and orbits at an altitude of 569 km above Earth’s atmosphere, completing a full circuit every 97 minutes. The Hubble Space Telescope provides information about the electromagnetic spectrum of space and captures high-resolution images, allowing us to observe distant stars, galaxies and planets. It was built by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States of America with the aim of expanding our knowledge of the universe.

The advantage of having a telescope in space is that it avoids all interference from our environment, light pollution, rain clouds and turbulence. Hubble’s position above the atmosphere means it can capture unobstructed images that are clearer and help us see deeper into our universe than our ground-based telescopes have been able to before.

The Hubble is a Cassegrain reflector telescope. Light enters the device through the opening at one end of the telescope tube shape. Light strikes the primary mirror before reflecting off a secondary mirror, which then reflects the light back to a focal point in the center of the primary mirror. The mirrors used are similar to those you would find in your home, although they contain a different composition to be able to reflect ultraviolet, infrared and visible light. If the alignment of either mirror is slightly out of alignment, the focal point will be moved away from the sensor, causing images to blur. Light detected at the focal point is distributed through an array of small mirrors to several scientific instruments to record data for scientists to analyze. There is no real camera on board the Hubble. The telescope produces an image by recording the type of light and where it was received, then constructing a virtual image of what the subject appears to look like.

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