Visible Light Satellit1

Visible Light Satellit1 - mission went up to fix it and now...

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Visible Light Satellite The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) - image courtesy NASA, STScI. Many of the pictures in this course are from this telescope. You can check out many of the images if you visit the HST website . While it is not necessary to put a visible light telescope in space, the need for one is obvious. The atmosphere has a tendency to blur images, so by placing a telescope above the atmosphere, the clarity of the images is increased a great deal as well as the ability to gather more light. The currently largest optical telescope is the Hubble Space Telescope - HST (1990 - ). While the mirror of the HST is only 2.5 meters in diameter, its location in space makes it a very powerful tool. Soon after it was launched it was discovered that the telescope's big mirror was not in the correct shape so that the light did not focus. To give you an idea of how picky these telescopes can be, the error in the HST mirror was 0.000002 meters. Even though this is a pretty small amount, it really screwed up the telescope. It had to be fixed in space. A later space shuttle
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Unformatted text preview: mission went up to fix it and now it works just dandy. Recently a new camera was also installed, which will allow it to take even better pictures than before. The HST is by far the most annoying telescope ever built! Why do I say that? Mainly because of all of the new things it discovers (and I have to keep re-writing my notes!). The HST is supposed to last until about 2010, but could last longer if we're lucky or unlucky if you have to teach astronomy and it keeps discovering new stuff. Recent repair missions have extended the life of the HST, hopefully until we can replace it with an even bigger visible light telescope. And just to show how big things are now, the previously mentioned IR space telescope, Herschel , has a 3.5 m mirror. The telescope that is planned to replace the HST is the James Webb Space Telescope , which is scheduled to be launched in 2014. But until it is up there, we don't have to worry about it (and I don't have to revise my notes again)....
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