Following on from tte-77′s post, and the Hubble Space Telescopes one millionth observation, here we have a selection its greatest achievements selected from staff at space.com.
The Hubble Space Telescope has lasted an astounding 20 years - Credit: NASA
It is hugely difficult to select just a few of the achievements, in 21 years and one million observations Hubble has revolutionised our understanding of the universe. As well as discoveries made which have led to breakthroughs in astrophysics, it has also inspired millions across the planet to take an interest in the sky around us and will hopefully lead on to the next generation of skywatchers and scientists.
Hubble helped construct the largest scale 3-D maps scientists have of where dark matter is distributed in the universe - Credit: Jee et al. 2005, Astrophysical Journal
Dark matter, which is invisible but reveals its existence via gravity, makes up roughly 23 percent of the universe. By analyzing the distortions caused by dark matter’s gravity on light from distant galaxies, Hubble helped construct the largest scale 3-D maps scientists have of where dark matter is distributed in the universe.
Hubble discovered two new moons of Pluto, dubbed Nix and Hydra, and recently mapped seasonal changes to its surface - Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Buie (Southwest Research Institute)
Hubble discovered two new moons of Pluto, dubbed Nix and Hydra.
By determining the rate at which the universe is expanding, Hubble may have helped solve the mystery of how old the universe is - Credit: NASA and A. Riess (STScI)
By determining the rate at which the universe is expanding, Hubble may have helped solve the mystery of how old the universe is.
To see the full list of what are considered to be Hubble’s greatest achievements click here.
As Hubble’s last service was in 2009 time is running out for this vital tool, so lets hope its successor The James Webb Space Telescope will help reveal the answers to some of the biggest mysteries of astronomy – if of course we get to see The James Webb Space Telescope in action.