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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hubble 25 years old

Hubble Telescope at 25
Picture of the Pillars of Creation

Hubble’s Greatest Hits

Pictures from the space telescope have dazzled us for 25 years.

By Timothy Ferris
Photograph above by NASA; ESA; Hubble Heritage Team,
STScI/AURA. Colorized Composite/Mosaic
It didn’t amount to much at first.
Launched into orbit aboard the space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990, amid flurries of hope and hype, the Hubble Space Telescope promptly faltered. Rather than remaining locked on its celestial targets, it trembled and shook, quaking like a photophobic vampire whenever sunlight struck its solar panels. Opening its protective front door to let starlight in perturbed the telescope so badly that it fell into an electronic coma. Worst of all, Hubble turned out to be myopic. Its primary light-gathering mirror, eight feet in diameter and said to be the smoothest large object ever fashioned by humans, had been figured perfectly wrong./.../

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