What Did the Hubble Space Telescope See on Your Birthday?

Hubble Space Telescope in Orbit

This illustration shows the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in its high orbit 600 kilometers above Earth. Credit: European Space Agency

Hubble explores the universe 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That means it has observed some fascinating cosmic wonder every day of the year, including on your birthday.

What did Hubble look at on your birthday? Enter the month and date on the Hubble Birthday Site to find out!

Then share the results with your friends on social media using #Hubble30.

The Hubble Space Telescope was the first astronomical observatory to be placed into orbit around Earth with the ability to record images in wavelengths of light spanning from ultraviolet to near-infrared. Launched on April 24, 1990, aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, Hubble is currently located about 340 miles (547 km) above Earth’s surface, where it completes 15 orbits per day — approximately one every 95 minutes. The satellite moves at the speed of about five miles (8 km) per second, fast enough to travel across the United States in about 10 minutes.

Hubble Space Telescope Components Diagram

Cutaway diagram of the Hubble Space Telescope, with components labeled. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Hubble is 43.5 feet long (13.2 m) and 14 feet wide (4.2 m) at the back, where the scientific instruments are housed. Weighing about 27,000 pounds (12,246 kg), the telescope is approximately the same size and weight as a school bus. The observatory is powered by two solar arrays that convert sunlight into electrical energy that is stored in six large batteries. The batteries allow the observatory to operate during the shadowed portions of Hubble’s orbit when Earth blocks the satellite’s view of the Sun.

In the middle of the spacecraft, near its center of gravity, are four 100-pound (45 kg) reaction wheels used to reorient the observatory. Based upon Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion — for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction — turning a reaction wheel in one direction causes Hubble to react by turning the opposite way. The satellite knows where and when it should turn based on a target schedule uploaded from the control center. Hubble’s main computer then calculates which wheels should slow and which ones spin faster to most efficiently maneuver the spacecraft to the new target.

Here are some Hubble pictures that have recently appeared on SciTechDaily.com:

1 Comment on "What Did the Hubble Space Telescope See on Your Birthday?"

  1. mohammad mardini | April 23, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Reply

    Thank you for this valuable information and great photos

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