के सभी प्रकाशन 020 Salman . Hoshiarpura , India


The Eternal Hubble Telescope

BY: Muhammad Salman

Being an astrophile since my childhood, it always fascinated me as to how stars glow, why we can’t see them at daytime, why moon shines only at night and all other related phenomena. But with advancing age, I got involved in finding their answers & to my surprise, learning about Hubble answered all my questions. Hubble is a space telescope that was launched in Low Earth Orbit in the 1990's to explore space & its mysteries. Interestingly, the Telescope is still in operation.

From last few days, the news of launch of James Web Space Telescope is spreading rapidly & I find the contribution of Hubble Telescope worth mentioning as a part of this article. No doubt, James Web Space Telescope is better than Hubble Telescope in many aspects as technology has advanced to its heights but if we know anything about space & are able to propose different models & theories of space, it is only because of Hubble.

Hubble was invented by Edwin Hubble, an American astronomer after whom it is named & was launched in space by Discovery (STS-31) rocket space shuttle on 24th April, 1990 at NASA Space Center Kennedy LC-39 B in Florida . This 31 year journey of Hubble has been incredibly special. From studying Galaxy formation using knowledge of high redshift under project ‘Hubble Deep Fields Initiative’ to Cosmic Evolution Survey; taking millions of observations of space to capturing the first ever photo of Black Hole, Hubble has come a long way. Hubble features a 2.4 metre mirror & its five instruments carry observations in ultra violet, visible and near infrared regions of electromagnetic spectrum. One of the greatest achievements that Hubble has made is determining the rate of expansion of universe which we state in our common language as Hubble’s law. This law defines that the speed of galaxies away from earth is proportional to their distances from earth which we can easily understand as, the farther they are, the faster they are moving from earth. Hubble’s law is considered as the first observational basis for universe expansion & can be considered as a ground for proving Big bang theory & its model of universe expansion .Till now, Hubble is the only telescope which can be maintained and managed by astronauts in space. In 2019, the first ever image of Black Hole which lies at the center of M87 galaxy, 55 million light years from earth was captured & its credit also goes to Hubble’s legacy. Besides explaining Black Holes and capturing space events, Hubble has also opened new doors for research & exploration. The beautiful images of supernovas, galaxies & stars that we are able to see are actually monochromatic grayscales taken through a variety of filters incorporated in each camera & the beautiful colors are created by combining separate monochrome images taken through different filters. On Jan 1st, 2022 Hubble hit a milestone of one billion seconds in space, observing all the events occurring around. It is an achievement of this telescope that it has made more than 1.5 million observations in its 31 year journey in space.

The James Web Space Telescope which was launched recently by Arianne 5 ECA (VA256) on 24th December, 2021 will reach space in about a month & will continue the legacy of Hubble as a successor. The James web space telescope will primarily look at space in infrared spectrum & its large light collecting area will provide a more detailed back in time information. Undoubtedly the services of Hubble are uncountable & we were lucky enough to see it working all this while & will continue to have it in space for about 10 to 20 more years.

(The author is currently pursuing B.Tech from NIT Srinagar & can be reached at [email protected])

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