The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a space telescope that was carried into orbit by Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990. While the HST isn’t the first telescope launched into orbit, it is the most celebrated for making so many accomplishments. Here are just six of its discoveries:
The nebula, discovered in 1787 by Friedrich Wilhelm Herschel and photographed multiple times by the HST, is 10 light years in diameter. Within this nebula, there is a star that is estimated to be 45 times larger than the Sun. It has an oppressive surface temperature of 44,540 degrees and luminosity 100,000 times more intense than the sun. Astronomers are still uncovering secrets from within the Bubble Nebula and learning new things about the star nursery.
This nebula was formed from a dying star and is considered the most complex planetary nebulae discovered to date. Some of its unique characteristics include complex knot structures, gas jets, multiple bubbles, and arcs.
The Centaurus A galaxy is one of the closest radio galaxies to the Milky Way. When the HST discovered the black hole in this galaxy, it actually revealed that the galaxy was in the process of eating another galaxy and releasing massive amounts of material, radio waves, and light.
4) Impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 into Jupiter
The trajectory of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 was significantly altered by the gravity of Jupiter, a gas planet and first of four outer planets in our Solar System, which sent the comet on a collision course with the planet. The HST and other telescopes monitored the trajectory change and eventual impact in 1994.
The HST gained photo evidence of additional objects beyond Pluto, unlocking some of the dwarf planet’s mysteries. Along with known moon Charon, the HST discovered two new moons in 2005, which astronomers have since named Nix and Hydra.
The HST observations of the sky above our own have led scientists to believe that dark energy has been proven to exist at quantities way above previous estimates.
The Hubble Space Telescope has answered many questions over the past years and has been a great help to astronomers and scientists. According to an article written by Helium: Astronomy, “HST has opened the flood gates to a whole new realm of research that will continue to develop into the 21st century that could eventually lead to new forms of propulsion, power, and an overall understanding of how the universe actually works.” I am looking forward to hearing of the future discoveries the Hubble Telescope will make.
Tags: astronomy, Bubble Nebula, Cat's Eye, Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, dark energy, HST, Hubble Space Telescope, NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Space Shuttle Discovery, supermassive black hole