Tuesday, February 26, 2008


"Humble" Hubble.....

My Dad recently sent me an e-mail with some info and photos that had been profiled in the Daily Mail Online, and it is a very interesting story. I have been fascinated by the Hubble Telescope from the "get-go", from launch, to finding "flaws" in the lenses, to the "repair" mission, and to the outstanding photos it continues to send to earth, of amazing wonders "beyond"! Here is the actual article by Michael Hanlon, and following will be some photos and comments.

Hubble Telescope's Top Ten Greatest Space Photographs


For a while it looked as if the whole mission would end in embarrassing failure.

After it was launched in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope, a $1.5 billion orbiting observatory, was found to have a glitch in its giant lens - rendering Earth's first orbital observatory short-sighted.

But after an audacious Shuttle repair mission, when Hubble was fixed with what is effectively a pair of eyeglasses to correct its sight, the telescope has returned some of the most stunning images ever captured by science.

And now astronomers have voted for the best pictures taken by Hubble in its 16 years in orbit.

Hubble's Top Ten are shown here, and they illustrate that our universe is not only deeply strange, but also almost impossibly beautiful.

Hubble, which is about the size of a bus, has been sending pictures and data back to scientists since it began operating 370 miles up.

It transmits about 120 gigabytes of information every week. That's equal to about 3,600 feet of books on a shelf.

By putting a telescope into space, astronomers can get views of distant objects without having to look through Earth's thick and soupy atmosphere. From hundreds of miles above the clouds and weather, Hubble can provide pictures of unparallelled clarity and sharpness.

Over its life, Hubble has been pointed at objects as diverse as the Moon and the most distant galaxies, to help scientists better understand the wonders of the known universe.

Hubble is an old machine and, until recently, glitches in its various mechanisms seemed to have doomed the telescope. But now NASA has announced a $900 million repair mission in the next couple of years to keep it flying.

When the repairs have been carried out, it is hoped Hubble will continue to give many more years of service and, perhaps, even return images superior to those seen here.

Henry Lambright, science and technology professor at Syracuse University, New York, says: 'The beautiful pictures that we see Hubble produce are gripping to everyone who looks at them. They transmit the magic of space in a way that words cannot.'

Amazing "piece of iron", that Hubble Telescope! Check out what many consider it's "Top Ten" photos!


The Sombrero Galaxy - 28 million light years from Earth - was voted best picture taken by the Hubble telescope. The dimensions of the galaxy, officially called M104, are as spectacular as its appearance. It has 800 billion suns and is 50,000 light years across.


The Ant Nebula, a cloud of dust and gas whose technical name is Mz3, resembles an ant when observed using ground-based telescopes. The nebula lies within our galaxy between 3,000 and 6,000 light years from Earth.


In third place is Nebula NGC 2392, called Eskimo because it looks like a face surrounded by a furry hood. The hood is, in fact, a ring of comet-shaped objects flying away from a dying star. Eskimo is 5,000 light years from Earth.


At four is the Cat's Eye Nebula, which looks like the eye of disembodied sorcerer Sauron from Lord of the Rings.


The Hourglass Nebula, 8,000 light years away, has a pinched-in-the-middle look because the winds that shape it are weaker at the centre.


In sixth place is the Cone Nebula. The part pictured here is 2.5 light years in length (the equivalent of 23 million return trips to the Moon).


The Perfect Storm, a small region in the Swan Nebula, 5,500 light years away, described as 'a bubbly ocean of hydrogen and small amounts of oxygen, sulphur and other elements'.


Starry Night, so named because it reminded astronomers of the Van Gogh painting. It is a halo of light around a star in the Milky Way.


The glowering eyes from 114 million light years away are the swirling cores of two merging galaxies called NGC 2207 and IC 2163 in the distant Canis Major constellation.


The Trifid Nebula. A 'stellar nursery', 9,000 light years from here, it is where new stars are being born.

"Amazing" photos! Let's hope "Hubble" continues to send these stunning images for many years, makes "one wonder". Now, a "parting line" from my Dad's e-mail.....

Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." ....

MORE - Hubble...

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