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Hubble 30 Years of Discovery from BBC Sky at Night Magazine

Hubble 30 Years of Discovery from BBC Sky at Night Magazine

Hubble 30 Years of Discovery from BBC Sky at Night Magazine
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For three decades, this iconic space telescope has explored the cosmos – shining a light on our planetary neighbours, discovering alien worlds, capturing the birth, life and death of stars, and delving into the darkest depths of the Universe. This special edition from BBC Sky at Night Magazine reveals Hubble’s story – from initial concept to the orbital repair that fixed its mirror and the risky maintenance missions. With spectacular images, you’ll discover the science that it has enabled, and gain an insight into the powerful legacy that Hubble has given to people all over the world.

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United Kingdom
Immediate Media Company London Limited

in this issue

2 min.

Thirty years ago a spacecraft launched that was to fundamentally change our relationship with space. The Hubble Space Telescope has played a part in many of the definining astronomical discoveries of the last three decades, from the demotion of Pluto to the theorising of dark energy. Yet the power of its imagery has also revealed the Universe to everyone, with a clarity and immediacy matched by nothing before it. Thanks to Hubble, today we all know what the cosmos looks like. Where earlier ages looked up and pictured God in the stained glass of lofty cathedrals, today we can see the processes of Nature at work, captured by Hubble in the multicoloured wavelengths of light from a star-forming region lightyears across, or the multiple far-off galaxies revealed in the smallest…

2 min.

Lunar transit CAPTURED: 24 FEBRUARY 2009 Four of Saturn’s 82 moons are captured passing in front of their parent planet. Far left are the white icy moons Enceladus and Dione (next to the black dots of their shadows), top right is the large orange moon Titan, and far right is the icy moon Mimas. Saturn moon transits like these are rare to see because they only happen when the plane of the planet’s rings is ‘edge on’ as seen from Earth. A perfect 10 RELEASED: 30 OCTOBER 2008 These interacting galaxies, together known as Arp 147, appear like the number ‘10’ when viewed from the orientation of Earth. The galaxy on the left is relatively undisturbed, making it look like a clean number ‘1’, while the more messy blue ring of the right-hand galaxy suggests…

1 min.
the spacecraft

Hubble is an icon of space engineering. A first of its kind. A scientific marvel that has punched above its weight. But the planning, construction and launch of the space telescope did not go unhindered – there were many hiccups along the way. Its subsequent success is testament to the ingenuity of its engineers and the bravery of the astronauts who serviced it. From the initial concept to the final design, the well-publicised launch to the risky repair missions, the technological issues to the innovative solutions, this section takes a look at the birth and life of Hubble, and the people behind the scenes who made it a success story.…

5 min.
planning a telescope in space

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist John Noble Wilford wrote in The New York Times in April 1990: “After 45 years of dreaming, the Hubble is ready to be taken into orbit.” As he penned those words, Space Shuttle Discovery stood poised on a Florida launch pad, its payload bay packed with NASA’s scientific showpiece: the $1.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope. Long billed as being able to see further, deeper and older into space than ever before – back to the Universe’s infancy, when the earliest stars and galaxies took form, shortly after the Big Bang – Hubble promised nothing less than an astronomical revolution. And for NASA, it was the eighth wonder of the world. The idea of putting an observatory high above the atmosphere to bring twinkling stars and fuzzy galaxies into sharp…

1 min.
who was edwin hubble?

Born in 1889, in Marshfield, Missouri – where a statue of the telescope that bears his name now resides – Edwin Powell Hubble was the son of an insurance executive. A fine athlete and sportsman, he studied law as a pledge to his father, before returning to his boyhood love of astronomy and a doctorate in 1917. Hubble was an army officer in the First World War and an astronomer at California’s Mount Wilson Observatory until the end of his life. Married for 30 years to Grace, his work completely overturned the view at the time that the Universe consisted entirely of the Milky Way. He made this breakthrough by showing that Cepheid variable stars could be used as yardsticks to measure celestial distances, and finding several spiral nebulae too far…

1 min.

In a whirl CAPTURED: JANUARY 2005 This image of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) is a perfect example of a classic spiral galaxy – graceful arms, which are home to young stars, curl in towards the central core, where older stars reside. The smaller galaxy NGC 5195 (right) has been gliding past the Whirlpool for hundreds of millions of years. Stormy weather CAPTURED: 27 JUNE 2019 Distinct bands of roiling clouds rumble across Jupiter in this stretched-out map of the entire planet (excluding the polar regions). The image was created from several exposures taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC 3). Metamorphosis CAPTURED: 27 JULY 2009 Nicknamed the Butterfly Nebula (or Bug Nebula), NGC 6302 lies within the Milky Way, roughly 3,800 lightyears away. What appear to be delicate butterfly wings are in fact super-heated cauldrons of gas,…