The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the most productive scientific instruments ever constructed. It is a relatively small telescope by terrestrial standards, housed in a cylinder just 4.2 meters wide and 14.3 meters long orbiting 550 kilometers above the earth at 28,000 kilometers per hour. The primary mirror, just 2.4 meters in diameter, polished to within 10 nanometers of perfection, is the most accurate surface ever made.
Since it was launched 25 years ago, on April 24, 1990, Hubble has provided more than one million observations encoded in more than 200 terabytes of data that have resulted in more than 15,000 scientific publications. These observations have revealed a wide variety of previously unsuspected aspects of the cosmos, and these have fundamentally altered our understanding of the universe.
Getting Hubble funded, built and launched required "speculative visions, brilliant insights, years of grinding work, triumphs and mistakes" as the historian William Smith put it. And realizing its promise once it was aloft required the dedication, ingenuity, and courage to carry out four servicing missions, including two rescue missions and several major upgrades, tasks greatly complicated by two space shuttle disasters.
The program consists of six presentations followed by a Q&A period. Two of the presentations will describe Hubble history. Three will discuss Hubble-based contributions to science in the areas of planets and stars, deep field observations and cosmology. And the final presentation will describe post-Hubble space observatories, including the James Webb Telescope and observatories that may come after the JWST.
Getting to Orbit
Professor, University of Alberta
Author of The Space Telescope: A Study of NASA, Science, Technology and Politics
NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Directorate Astronaut on 3 Hubble Servicing Missions
Planets, Stars and Exoplanets
Senior Project Scientist,
Hubble Space Telescope
Senior Research Astronomer, Space Telescope Science Institute
1993-1998 - Director, STSI
President, Ass’n of Universities for Research in Astronomy
2005-2015 – Director, STSI
The James Webb Space Telescope & Beyond
Senior Scientist, JWST
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