- Since its launch in 1990, Hubble space telescope He achieved revolutionary achievements in astronomy.
- new Imes Webb Space Telescope It is popular, but Hubble has capabilities that Webb lacks, such as capturing visible and ultraviolet light.
- The two telescopes will come together to study the cosmos in even greater detail.
For thirty years, Hubble space telescope It offered breathtaking cosmic landscapes.
As the world raves about NASA’s new project James Webb Space TelescopeWhile the aging Hubble remains an astronomical workhorse and provides important observations about the universe, Webb gets all the attention.
But as a couple, telescopes are even more powerful than alone. Together, space-based telescopes will provide astronomers with a more complete view and understanding of galaxies, stars and planets than ever before.
Jennifer Wiseman, senior project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope at NASA’s Goddard Space, said, “The Webb Space Telescope is good news for astronomy, and it’s also good news for the Hubble Space Telescope, because Webb and Hubble enhance and complement each other’s unique capabilities.” Flight Center told Insider.
As Webb and Hubble uncover the universe together, Hubble’s scientific return is expected to be strong and even increase over the course of this decade.
Since Galileo Galilei In 1609 he built his telescope, astronomers pointed these instruments towards the sky. Astronomers have improved these tools significantly over time, allowing them to look even deeper into the universe.
But his observations were constrained by Earth’s atmosphere, which absorbs the light before it reaches ground-based telescopes. Enter space-based telescopes. Observatories like Hubble sit above the degradation of Earth’s atmosphere and away from light-polluted cities, put by NASA“an unobstructed view of the universe.”
Hubble was launched on April 24, 1990 aboard the space shuttle Discovery. 15 years serviceIt is still speeding through space about 340 miles above the Earth’s surface and orbiting the planet every 97 minutes.
“Hubble is technically in good shape, even 32 years after launch, with a robust suite of scientific instruments on board,” Wiseman said. Said.
Over the years, Hubble’s images have played an important role in our understanding of the universe. He provided evidence supermassive black holes in the centers of galaxies and in measuring the expansion rate of the universe. Hubble also helped to discover and characterize the mysterious. dark energy It causes this expansion by separating the galaxies from each other. Among his most iconic achievements is the 1995 Pillars of Creation image, which shows newly formed stars shining in the Eagle Nebula.
And Hubble still takes stunning pictures, even after Webb began providing images from his scientific observations in July. Recently, Hubble took a picture of NGC 6540 dotted with starsA globular cluster in the constellation Sagittarius.
Both Webb and Hubble are space-based telescopes, but they differ in many ways. Webb will primarily look at the universe in infrared, while Hubble will see ultraviolet light, visible light, and a small slice of infrared.
webb It will be able to see objects that are 100 times more powerful than Hubble – whose light was emitted more than 13.5 billion years ago and which Hubble couldn’t. This is because this light has been shifted to infrared wavelengths that Webb specifically designed to detect.
But because Webb was designed that way, it would also miss celestial bodies in visible and ultraviolet light that Hubble could see.
“In fact, Hubble is the only large-class observatory capable of accessing UV wavelengths,” Wiseman said. Said.
Webb is referred to as Hubble’s successor, while the two space-based observatories will combine to reveal the universe together.
Wiseman points to how they can provide insight into how stars are born in clouds of cosmic dust and dispersed across most galaxies. “For example, Hubble can detect and analyze in detail the hot blue and UV light burning from star-forming nebulae in nearby galaxies,” Wiseman said. “This is comparable to the viability of star formation in the early universe. Detected by Webb.”
Two space-based telescopes will also join their gaze. atmospheres of other worldsThey are looking for signs that they may harbor life.
When looking for life-supporting planets, astronomers typically look for earth-sustaining components (liquid water, a constant source of energy, carbon and other elements). Hubble in 2001 first direct measurement from the atmosphere of an exoplanet.
“The understanding of planets in our own galaxy, inside and outside of our own solar system will be greatly improved by the Webb and Hubble combination,” Wiseman added. “The signs of water, methane, and other atmospheric components will be identified using the solar system. spectroscopic capabilities.”
And while Webb may be seen as the shiny new toy in astronomy, Hubble’s unique abilities Capturing visible and ultraviolet light still makes it a sought-after tool for understanding the cosmos. “Hubble is actually at its peak scientific performance right now,” Wiseman said. This is thanks to a team of NASA technical experts on the ground who monitor and rapidly address emerging technical challenges, he added.
“The number of proposals from scientists worldwide wanting to use Hubble has grown to over 1,000 per year, and only the top few of these have been chosen for actual observations,” Wiseman said, adding, “Many of these complement the proposed Webb observations.”
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