20 years of Hubble: the most spectacular images

20 years of Hubble: the most spectacular images

No instrument ever offered spectacular images of space. Nothing has brought us an extraordinary way to the Universe. The Hubble Space Telescope, the most famous of history meets this Saturday 20 years in orbit. The results of his work are remarkable: hundreds of thousands of photographs that have helped explain some of the most important mysteries of astronomy and to determine the age of the Universe or know its far reaches. Unfortunately, within a few years, the Hubble will be no more than a piece of junk that orbits the Earth.

This giant eye, considered a jewel by astronomers, was launched into space by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA in the ‘Discovery’ on April 24, 1990. But the idea of such a mill dates back to 1946 when the American astrophysicist Lyman Spitzer first proposed in history to send a huge space telescope observation. A couple of decades later, the U.S. Academy of Sciences bet on the idea of Spitzer and began designing the invention.

In 1981, the Institute ‘Space Telescope Science’ in NASA began to build the device and it was in 1983 when the space telescope was named as the American astronomer Edwin P. Hubble. After a decade in ‘building process’ the device was launched into space. The cube robot, about 13 meters long and 4 in diameter, has a circular orbit around the Earth about 593 km away on the sea level, allowing it to avoid the turbulence of the atmosphere and to obtain higher resolution images a spotting scope. However, his first months in orbit was not easy. The scientists found that the mirror was flawed. The main mirror suffered from spherical aberration of a few thousandths of a millimeter, enough that the Hubble lost all his powers of observation.

In December 1993, STS-61 ‘Endeavour’ set a new lens that corrected the defects of the mirror, and a new camera, the ‘Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2′, which allowed the telescope to place the ‘technology toe ‘. In addition, the computers were updated and replaced the telescope’s solar panels. Next came “other reforms”, five in total to “put glasses”, the latest, most important, made last year.In 2005, NASA management decided not to prolong the maintenance of the Hubble by its high cost-a decision that caused much controversy and protest from scientists around the world. Your complete off is scheduled for 2014, although not definitive.

Among the highlights of the telescope are the images of the comet’s approach ‘Shoremaker-Levy 9′ Jupiter (1994) or the discovery that the universe is expanding (1998). To date, there have been over 4,800 scientific articles with data collected by the telescope, a figure that confirms his great scientific importance.