10 Hubble Space Telescope Facts
10 Hubble Space Telescope Facts
We’ve been building telescopes a long time, but the Hubble Space Telescope was the single greatest and most wondrous telescope man has ever built, not to mention most expensive…
With its ingenious design, the array of complex parts, components, innovative technology or its power supply; the Hubble Space Telescope is [was] second to none.
Few people know enough about the machine which gave humans sight and perspective into the most distant parts of our Universe. The Hubble’s “eyesight” is awesome and incomprehensible. What else can see 77,597,854,926,023,622,047,244 miles away while traveling in orbit at 17,000 miles per hour?
Oh yeah, the Hubble Space Telescope loves breasts. On that note, let’s take a look at the 10 Hubble Space Telescope Facts guaranteed to drop your jaw.
#1 – Named after Edwin Hubble.
- On April 24, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into space. Named after the famous Astronomer, Edwin Hubble, this telescope is a joint-venture between The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and The European Space Agency (ESA).
#2 – The $2.5 Billion Telescope and Counting.
- The Hubble Space Telescope was originally estimated to cost about $400 million, once it was completed its total cost is now closer to $2.5 billion. Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope is estimated to have cumulative costs of up to $10 billion or more.
#3 – Astonishing Eyesight.
- The Hubble Space Telescope has provided some of the most amazing imagery of all time. At the time of its launch, the Hubble Space Telescope provided images of the Universe beyond anything we had ever seen. The Hubble Space Telescope’s “eyesight” is so amazing, it can see as far as 13.2 billion light years away. That’s the equivalent to 77,597,854,926,023,622,047,244 miles.
#4 – Battery Powered Telescope?
- Well, kind of. The Hubble Space Telescope gets its energy from the Sun. It has two 25 foot solar panels which generate roughly 5,500 watts. The telescope only consumes about 2,100 watts. It stores this power using 6 nickel hydrogen (NiH) batteries, about 20 of the batteries you’d find in a modern electric car.
#5 -A Library a Week of Data.
- The Hubble Space Telescope generates roughly 140 gigabytes of data, each week. That’s roughly the equivalent amount of information as a 3 floor library full of books. This data is sent to the Space Telescope Operations Control Center at Goddard Space Flight Center, then eventually stored at the Space Telescope Science Institute and archived.
#6 – The Hubble Telescope is Color Blind.
- Despite the endless array of beautifully colored images of distant stars, galaxies, nebulae, solar systems and much more, it only takes images in various shades of black and white. The images then go through a post-production process to add color, using multiple exposures and filters to add in reds, blues and greens.
#7 – The Hubble Telescope Saves Breasts.
- Yes, you read that correctly. The Hubble Space Telescope assisted in the advancement of technologies that lead to breakthroughs in Breast Cancer detection. The STIS (Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph) is used to search and detect supermassive black holes. This same technology is now used by medical professionals to image breast tissue and distinguish between malignant and benign tumors.
#8 – A Bus Sized Telescope.
- It’s hard to imagine a telescope the size of a bus, but the Hubble Space Telescope is massive in size and scale, as well as several other facets of its existence. Some data points that will blow your mind, the Hubble Space Telescope is: 43.5 feet tall and 14 feet diameter, it weighs ~27,000 lbs, it orbits Earth at ~17,500 miles per hour at an orbit altitude of 353 miles above Earth, 97 minute orbit completion time.
#9 – Unprecedented Accuracy.
- The Hubble Space Telescope’s accuracy is so precise that it is able to lock onto a target without deviating more than 7/1000th of an arcsecond. If this doesn’t sound impressive to you, you don’t know jack. That’s like being able to focus your eyes on a single human hair, a mile away, traveling at 17,000 miles per hour. Try besting that one.
#10 – Planning for Retirement.
- The Hubble Space Telescope was launched in April of 1990, with a life expectancy of only 15 years. By the year 2005, the Hubble Telescope should have been out of commission and sitting in some museum somewhere. Nonetheless, humans to the rescue, 5 servicing missions later (1993, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2009) and the Hubble Space Telescope is still functioning and taking better pictures than the day it was launched. In 2018, the ($8.7 billion) James Webb Telescope is planned to launch. Sadly, this will be the beginning of the Hubble Space Telescope’s retirement. No one knows for sure, but the Hubble Space Telescope could last until 2030 or even 2040.
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