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02 octobre 2018

The Age of Hubble-full documentary

the age of hubble
The Hubble Space Telescope is only one of four out-of-this-world space observatories currently scanning the heavens, but it’s certainly the best-known. (The other three are the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Kepler Mission.) Hubble, though, was the first to be operational and is justly celebrated for the sheer volume and quality of its images, which capture light in ultraviolet, visual, and near-infrared wavelengths.

In XiveTV’s stunningly beautiful documentary, The Age of Hubble, viewers are treated to images of grand vistas in space, fascinating cosmic activity, and, of course, the mind-blowing photos of deep space that have made Hubble one of the most valuable resources we have in cosmology and astronomy.
A Quarter-Century of Cosmic Wonders
The story of Hubble began with high hopes when it was conceived and then finally launched in 1990, descended to devastating disappointment when it was discovered that its mirror (the largest and most delicate piece of its machinery) was found to be flawed, and rose to anxious anticipation with a risky Space Shuttle mission, in 1993, to repair the mirror. Finally, in December 1993, Hubble achieved unprecedented success when it began transmitting images of sparkling clarity, photos that have added immense depth and broad knowledge to our understanding of the cosmos.
Over its 25+ years of service, Hubble has been responsible for some of the most outstanding scientific discoveries of our time. The 1996 photographic image called “Hubble Deep Field” is just one example of the previously unexcelled power of the space telescope. In this image, astronomers were able to peer far back into the history of the Universe and observe cosmic objects sending light to us from many millions of light years awayA recent Hubble observation identified a rare planet with two suns similar to the fictional planet Tatooine in the Star Wars movies. Because of this unusual configuration, the planet was shown to bend light as it makes its double transit, warping space-time in the manner predicted by Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.

And just this week, on September 26, NASA scientists announced that, based on examination of images taken by Hubble, evidence has been found that Jupiter’s moon Europa shoots enormous plumes of water vapor into space, presumably from massive underground water reserves. As a result of this momentous observation, it is likely that a future mission to that moon will not have to drill down through hundreds of miles of ice to search for life forms or their signature biochemistry.

As important as the Hubble Space Telescope has been to mapping and understanding the universe, its mission will eventually come to an end. How long it will continue in service is not certain, but we do know that it will cede its primacy to a new space observatory within the next couple of years. Hubble’s successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, is slated for launch in 2018. Its mission will be to build upon the legacy of Hubble by delving even more deeply into the secrets of the Universe, observing objects more than 280 million years older than Hubble can detect.

In fact, the Webb Space Telescope will be 100 times more powerful than Hubble. As astoundingly powerful as the Hubble is, the end of the Hubble era is within sight. Its many incredible discoveries are likely to be superseded in coming years and decades by even more historic discoveries and findings that will challenge our understanding of the structure of the Universe and everything in it.

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