Posts Tagged ‘astronomy’

6 Discoveries Made by the Hubble Space Telescope

May 2, 2011

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:

1) The Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635)

The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in orbit in the 1990s, has provided us with spectacular images of the universe's most distant objects. Here are some of its discoveries. | 6 Discoveries Made by the Hubble Space Telescope

Courtesy: T.A. Rector/University of Alaska Anchorage, H. Schweiker/WIYN and NOAO/AURA/NSF

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.

2) The Cat’s Eye Nebula (NGC 6543)

The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in orbit in the 1990s, has provided us with spectacular images of the universe's most distant objects. Here are some of its discoveries. | 6 Discoveries Made by the Hubble Space Telescope

Courtesy: ESA, NASA, HEIC and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

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.

3) The supermassive black hole at the center of Centaurus A (NGC 5128)

The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in orbit in the 1990s, has provided us with spectacular images of the universe's most distant objects. Here are some of its discoveries. | 6 Discoveries Made by the Hubble Space Telescope

Courtesy: X-ray: NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al.; Submillimeter: MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al.; Optical: ESO/WFI

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 Hubble Space Telescope, launched in orbit in the 1990s, has provided us with spectacular images of the universe's most distant objects. Here are some of its discoveries. | 6 Discoveries Made by the Hubble Space Telescope

Courtesy: NASA, ESA, and H. Weaver and E. Smith (STScI)

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.

5) Discovery of additional objects beyond Pluto

The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in orbit in the 1990s, has provided us with spectacular images of the universe's most distant objects. Here are some of its discoveries. | 6 Discoveries Made by the Hubble Space Telescope

Courtesy: NASA, ESA, H. Weaver (JHU/APL), A. Stern (SwRI), and the HST Pluto Companion Search Team

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.

6) Evidence of Dark Energy or Dark Matter

The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in orbit in the 1990s, has provided us with spectacular images of the universe's most distant objects. Here are some of its discoveries. | 6 Discoveries Made by the Hubble Space Telescope

Courtesy: NASA, ESA, and A. Riess (STScI)

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.

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Joie Montoya

Where is the Space Shuttle Endeavour Headed?

April 21, 2011

After making its final flight in April 2011, the Space Shuttle Endeavour will take up permanent residency at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.  It won’t be an easy transport but definitely worth it to those who live in California.  The estimated cost to move the 75-ton Space Shuttle is about $29 million.  On top of that, a special exhibit showroom will be constructed at the center.  Although the exhibit won’t be complete for at least five years, I’m sure many are looking forward to standing next to this amazing spacecraft up close and personal.  The Space Shuttle Endeavour has one last mission to fly but so far, it has already traveled 115.5 million miles and has spent 280 days, 9 1/2 hours in space.  In June, NASA’s Space Shuttle program will end with the Space Shuttle Alantis’ last flight.

NASA's Space Shuttle Program is ending in 2011 with Space Shuttle Endeavour's and Atlantis' last flight.Brendan Kownacki, director of Strategic Innovation for Merge Creative Media in Washington, once said that the Space Shuttles are an important symbol.  “The Space Race with the Russians began as a sign of technical savvy and nationalism, and has yielded dozens upon dozens of inventions and technological advancements.  I think the shuttles represent innovation and imagination and the idea that America has a bright future beyond what we see or know or can grasp.”  I agree with his statement very much and am glad that the Space Shuttle Endeavour will be placed at a center so close to home.  Many worked on making the shuttles a reality and I am proud to say that my father was one of those people.  I feel that everyone who was involved in making the shuttle deserves special recognition.  Even though the Space Shuttle program will be ending this June, the opportunities that came from it will endure for generations to come.

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Joie Montoya