Posts Tagged ‘hubble space telescope’

Hubble Repaired and Improved (Video)

July 26, 2009

Recently Hubble Space Telescope was repaired and upgraded with a new equipment. I stubled across this cool video from Hubble Cast. I am so glad that they take time to create such beautiful educational videos for mortal people like me to learn about what’s going on up there. It’s pretty short, just 6 minutes, but in high quality and has a lot of space footage and Hubble pictures.

Hubble got some repairs and a new improved camera. Camera is not fully calibrated yet, testing and preparations are under way currently and it is expected to be fully operational in September. Recent Jupiter impact photo was taken with this camera even when it was not fully ready yet. Hubble is truly one of the most successful space projects and one of my favourites, because of all the colorful pictures we got thanks to it.

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Asteroid Will Kill Us One Day

July 25, 2009

Twice in my life time rather big objects hit Jupiter. You probably heard the news about some amateur astronomer in Australia pictured an impact scar on Jupiter (check out the equipment of that “amateur” ;-). Recently Hubble Space Telescope took an image of it too:

Jupiter impact scar pictured by HST. Click to view bigger version. Image credit HST.

Jupiter impact scar pictured by HST. Jupiter north is on the top. Click to view bigger version. Image credit HST.

The thing which bothers me — in 15 years it happened twice (at least it was observed twice, so maybe it happened even more than twice). What are the odds of a big asteroid hitting Earth? Of course Jupiter is super heavy comparing to ¬†our planet and sure there are much more asteroids near Jupiter (but the fist impact came from comet, not asteroid!), but still twice in 15 years, while civilized human lives for 5,000 years already.

Feels like we were just lucky so far. Sure scientists understand the danger coming from space and they developed a special program to monitor the most dangerous asteroids and of course they are constantly looking for new undiscovered ones. But still the current state of asteroid protection on Earth is next to nothing, lets just cross fingers and hope that when day X comes there will be somebody like Bruce Willis to save us all :-)

How Hubble Trouble Was Solved

June 30, 2009

Currently Hubble Space Telescope is known as one of the most successful space projects ever. Everyone is familiar with the best pictures it brought to us. But not everyone remembers that Hubble mission started as a disaster, because main telescope mirror appeared to be defective, first images were fuzzy, way worse than expected. That’s when “Hubble trouble” expression was born (thank you, media guys, we love you! :-)

Shortly after the launch scientists dicovered, that the main mirror could not focus light properly, it had so called spherical aberration. Good thing they didn’t give up on it (of course they didn’t, it was too expensive to give up ;-) and created a funny workaround — they replaced original camera with a new one. New camera was constructed on purpose with a special defect. It was a precisely engineered defect to exactly compensate Hubble’s mirror problem. Two combined defects appeared to give an extremely sharp image — the quality which was expected from Hubble in the beginning. About 15 years already Hubble is taking pictures with a defective mirror and camera :-)