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Hubble Space Telescope celebrates 30 years in space – CBC.ca

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The Hubble Space Telescope transformed the way we see the universe and our place in it, and on Friday, it celebrated 30 years in space.

To mark the anniversary, NASA released a stunning image of two regions where stars are being born, the giant red nebula, NGC 2014, and its smaller blue neighbour, NGC 2020, in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a neighbouring galaxy to our own Milky Way. 

WATCH | NASA releases video on 30th anniversary of Hubble Space Telescope:

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Hubble — named after astronomer Edwin Hubble who confirmed our universe was expanding, among other findings — was launched into space aboard the space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990. 

But when Hubble opened its eye and took its first picture, astronomers were horrified to see a blurry and useless image. Further investigation discovered that the telescope’s main mirror had a tiny — about 1/50th the width of a human hair — flaw. 

It would take three more years until another mission could be launched to equip Hubble with a set of “glasses,” the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement that was about the size of a telephone booth.

The result was spectacular.

This comparison image of the core of the galaxy M100 shows the dramatic improvement in the Hubble Space Telescope’s view of the universe after the first servicing mission in December 1993. The original view, taken a few days before the servicing mission, is on the left. ( NASA)

 

Since then, Hubble has allowed us to peer into the farthest reaches of our 13.8-billion-year-old universe, looking back in time to when it was just 400 million years old, a mere infant in astronomical terms.

While the telescope was launched in 1990, the idea of an orbiting telescope was first conceived in 1946 by Lyman Spitzer. However, it was first seriously considered in 1960, specifically by Nancy Grace Roman, considered the “Mother of Hubble.”

Hubble Space Telescope (NASA)

Why have a telescope in space? Earth’s atmosphere creates turbulence. Placing a telescope above the atmosphere increases the sharpness of images.

And Hubble has had multiple servicing missions upgrading its many cameras and instruments, further sharpening its images.

A Hubble telescope photograph of the iconic Eagle Nebula’s ‘Pillars of Creation’ is seen in this NASA image released Jan. 6, 2015. By comparing an original 1995 photo and a 2014 one, astronomers noticed a lengthening of a narrow jet-like feature that may have been ejected from a newly forming star. (Hubble Heritage Team/NASA/ESA/Reuters)

But it’s not all about beautiful images. Hubble has allowed astronomers to measure the acceleration of our universe; it’s provided evidence of dark matter; it has observed atmospheres around exoplanets; and it has monitored planets in our own solar system.

To date, the workhorse telescope has made 1.4 million observations with data used in more than 17,000 peer-reviewed papers. 

In 1994, Hubble turned its eye on Jupiter, for the first-ever view of a comet breaking apart and hitting a planet. It was this breakup of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 that alerted scientists to the potential danger Earth would be in should something similar happen here at home.

Hubble followed unexpected and dramatic changes in Jupiter’s atmosphere caused by collisions with comet fragments. The titanic blasts left Jupiter with a temporarily ‘bruised’ appearance, caused by black debris that was tossed high above the giant planet’s cloud tops. (Hubble Space Telescope comet team, NASA)

And one of its most famous pictures is the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, an image of almost 10,000 galaxies.

This image shows the Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 2012, an improved version of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image featuring additional observation time. The image reveals nearly 10,000 galaxies, with 800 exposures taken over the course of 400 Hubble orbits around Earth. The total amount of exposure time was 11.3 days, taken between Sept. 24, 2003, and Jan. 16, 2004. (NASA, ESA, R. Ellis (Caltech))

While Hubble is expected to last through the 2020s, a second-generation space telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, is scheduled to launch in 2021.

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Scenes of SpaceX launching NASA astronauts into orbit, moment by moment – CNET

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SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, perched atop the company’s Falcon 9 rocket, takes off from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station. The May 30 launch was the first US rocket launch with a crew since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011 and SpaceX’s first crewed mission ever. The mission is called Demo-2 since its primary purpose is to test out SpaceX’s spacecraft.

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An Asteroid Bigger Than The Empire State Building Poses ‘No Danger’ On Saturday Night, Says NASA – Forbes

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A huge near-Earth asteroid will pass our planet tonight at a safe distance of 3.2 million miles, according to NASA.

After a spate of doom-laden headlines the space agency felt the need yesterday to update a previous post about near-Earth asteroids with the following note:

“Asteroid 2002 NN4 will safely pass by the Earth on June 6 at a distance of approximately 3.2 million miles (5.1 million kilometers), about 13 times further away from the Earth than the Moon is. There is no danger the asteroid will hit the Earth.”

Asteroid 2002 NN4’s closest approach to Earth will be at 11:20 p.m. EDT. on Saturday, June 6, 2020.

NASA also tweeted the same advice:

NASA Asteroid Watch then tweeted this image of the asteroid’s trajectory:

How big is Asteroid 2002 NN4?

Asteroid 2002 NN4 is huge. Measuring between 820 feet and 1,870 feet (250 meters to 570 meters) according to Space.com. New York City’s Empire State Building is 443.2 meters tall, including its antenna.

That’s over a dozen times bigger than the asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013. That was the biggest meteor for over a century.

Would asteroid 2002 NN4 be dangerous if it hit Earth?

Yes—asteroid 2002 NN4 is city-killer size, but it’s not going to cause any harm to anyone.

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

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Crew Dragon with two NASA astronauts docks to ISS – TASS

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NEW YORK, May 31. /TASS/. The Crew Dragon spacecraft with Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on board has successfully docked to the International Space Station (ISS), as follows from a NASA broadcast on Sunday.

The spacecraft began approaching the ISS about two hours before docking than was carried out 10:16 ahead of the schedule. The Crew Dragon spacecraft was launched using the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 22.22 pm Moscow time on May 30 from the Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Crew Dragon is a configuration of the cargo spacecraft Dragon, which had already delivered cargoes to the ISS. A Falcon-9 rocket put the cargo vehicle in space on March 2. Its docking with the ISS was carried out automatically the next day.

NASA stopped crewed flights in 2011 after the Space Shuttle program came to an end. From that moment on all astronauts were delivered to the ISS and back by Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft. Originally the Untied States was to start using commercial spacecraft for crewed missions in 2017.

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