Telescopes In The World: A Window To The Universe

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A Window to the Universe
Ever since the first civilizations began naming the dots in the sky, mankind has been fascinated by the cosmos and how they work. Telescopes were invented so that people could better view the stars and planets. Eventually, someone had the grand idea to launch one into space. It was named after the famous astronomer Edwin Hubble. Despite the trouble it has given engineers and astronauts since its launch, the Hubble space telescope has led to dozens of scientific breakthroughs and has changed the way humankind sees the universe.
The telescope is the culmination of ten years of hard work done by over 10,000 scientists and engineers. It cost 1.5 billion dollars at launch(HubbleSite). Hubble is 13.3 meters long and weighs 24,500 pounds (Garner), and despite its immense size, has the pointing accuracy of hitting a dime with a laser pointer—from 20 miles away! The telescope launched aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1990 and the world waited in anticipation of the first images. (DiCaprio).
Shortly after scientists began reviewing these images, however, something appeared to have gone wrong. The pictures Hubble was sending back were no better than those of ground-based telescopes. The diagnosis was a warped mirror that had to be fixed. A service mission was sent to repair the mirror in orbit in 1993. Astronauts installed lenses to correct for the inaccuracy of the mirror(DiCaprio). Throughout the nineties, NASA sent three more service missions into orbit to fix minor issues and enhance the telescope even more. Eventually, another list of repairs started to pile up and another mission was planned. Unfortunately, the Columbia disaster put the program at a standstill and it was cancelled. It was rescheduled to lift ...

... middle of paper ... away that their light is stretched into longer wavelengths and appears red(ESA/Hubble).
After 24 years and 5 service missions, Hubble has led to more important astronomical discoveries than any other telescope. It was worth every minute and every dime scientists and engineers have spent to keep it up and running. Every so often, it still shows up in the news with a new discovery; a distant star, or an earth-like planet. Who knows what it will find next?

Works Cited
DiCaprio, Leonardo, narr. IMAX Hubble 3D. 2010. DVD-ROM.
"Hubble Space Telescope." NASA. Ed. Rob Garner. NASA, 17 Dec. 2013. Web. 8 Apr. 2014. .
HubbleSite. NASA, n.d. Web. 8 Apr. 2014. .
"The Hubble Deep Fields." ESA/Hubble. ESA, n.d. Web. 8 Apr. 2014. .
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