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Category Archives: Hubble Telescope

Dig it! Scottish archaeology project re-imagines artefacts | HeraldScotland – HeraldScotland

Posted: September 22, 2021 at 3:02 am

AT first glimpse it could be a strange and mountainous lunar landscape.

However, the striking image was not captured by an astronaut.

Artefacts dating to 4,500BC have been re-imagined for a series of photographs celebrating the treasures unearthed during archaeological digs across Scotland over the past year.

The mountain is flint flake, or waste material that was produced in the making of prehistoric stone implements.

The planetary sphere is a lead pellet, which could date to the 16th century. They have been transformed into Hubble Telescope-like space imagery by a Scots artist.

The photographs were taken earlierthis month when the public joined the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership and the National Trust for Scotlandon the Threave Estate for a small archaeological excavation known as test pitting.

READ MORE: Rare Scottish Viking burial site begins to give up its secrets

Test-pitting is used to assess the archaeological potential of a site and artefacts from topsoil and subsoil deposits can sometimes be recovered.

Other photographs in the series were taken in East Lothian where volunteers helped unearth three early wooden railways on the route of Scotlands earliest railway.

The Tranent Waggonway in East Lothian was first constructed in 1722.

It was initially built for hauling coal from a pit at Tranent to Cockenzie and Port Seton for use as fuel in a process for making salt.

New archaeological excavations have revealed three wooden railways, each one laid immediately on top of the last.

The project team said there was not another site like it in railway archaeology.

On the Isle of Lismore in the Inner Hebrides, Comann Eachdraidh Lios Mor (the Lismore Historical Society) invited the public to help uncovermore of a 1,300-year-old cemetery linked to St Moluag, who is possibly Scotlands first patron saint.

Other finds included a flint thumbnail scraper of late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age date used to work wood and clean hides and a 13th century medieval lead spindle whorl used when spinning yarn.

The Threave Estate images were captured by Chris Dooks, an artist working in photography, field-recording and music who carries out residencies in Scotland and the rest of Europe.

READ MORE: The Glencoe house that sheds light on life for massacred MacDonald clan

They were commissioned as part of a series by the Dig It! project to celebrate the archaeological activity that took place across the country this summer.

Mr Dooks said: As a dark sky enthusiast, I was very excited by working in a part of Scotland close to my heart.

To be taken around the site by the professionals who were able to read the landscape was enlightening.

In one photograph, I re-imagined artefacts from different time periods, such as a spindle whorl and piece of flinty quartz, as Hubble Telescope-like imagery with meteorites, lunar vistas and a piece of lead-shot for a moon, while another became a study of abstract forms.

READ MORE: How amateur archaeologists discovered ancient Scots' love of hazelnuts

I also chose a huge piece of unidentified rust to capture the spiritof what an object looks like as soonas it comes out of the ground.

During the campaign, Dig It! shared updates from more than 20 fieldwork events across the country, most of which were open to the public as visitors or volunteers.

Dr Jeff Sanders FSAScot, project manager at the Society of Antiquaries of Scotlands Dig It! project, said: Archaeology is all about discovering Scotlands stories and these photographs tell tales of stepping into landscapes, uncovering traces of the past and reconstructing lost worlds from the smallest fragments.

Its an imaginative process drivenby people one that can be fun and boisterous or calm and contemplative so it was wonderful to see the public welcomed back to sites again this summer during the Scotland Digs 2021 campaign.

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Guide to the Galaxy: ‘It’s Written in the Stars’ – Parkland Talk

Posted: September 6, 2021 at 3:09 pm

By Kyle Jeter

New and old intertwine as my 5.0-milliwatt, 532-nanometer green laser traces patterns of stars that, in many cases, were first outlined by our ancient ancestors thousands of years ago.

Some of these patterns are full-fledged constellations, while others are smaller pictures found within the 88 official constellations so-called asterisms.

The famous Big and Little Dippers, for example, are not actually constellations in and of themselves but are easily identifiable asterisms within the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, respectively. Other well-known asterisms include the Summer Triangle, the Teapot of Sagittarius, the Keystone of Hercules, and the Great Square of Pegasus.

As the bright green ray of laser light slices through the still night air, I can almost see the light bulbs turning on in my students minds as they begin to connect our classroom learning to the actual night sky.

At such a moment, I can imagine the elders of ancient tribes sitting around a fire at night and sharing stories of the sky handed down to them through countless generations.

Now, however, anyone of any age can easily identify the constellations on their own using technology that was almost unthinkable when I began teaching in 1994. Apps such as StarWalk or Google Sky allow you to point your cell phone toward any section of the night sky and visualize the outline of the constellations in vivid detail.

Even though this technology has been around for a few years now, Im still amazed by it!

Learning how various cultures around the world interpreted the same areas of the sky has always fascinated me. Where the ancient Greeks saw a Scorpions tail, the ancient Polynesians visualized a giant fishhook (Disneys Moana illustrates this wonderfully).

Whereas most cultures made patterns of the stars, the Incas and Australian Aboriginals notably also recognized patterns in the dark clouds of the Milky Way itself. They saw animals such as a Llama (Incan) or an Emu (Aboriginal).

And the wildly creative mythologies around the world that sprang from these various sky interpretations are remarkable both in their similarities and differences. For example, why did so many disparate ancient cultures view the Pleiades Cluster of stars as the 7 Sisters? Could some common mythologies date back to our common African heritage? We dont know.

Although the ancient mythologies written in the stars are entertaining, another type of star story is revealed to astronomers by the real-world celestial objects found within the constellations. That is the story of how stars are created, evolve, and ultimately burn out.

For instance, within the Orion constellation, a cloudy spot below his famous Belt (another asterism) represents part of his dagger. However, whatappears as a tiny smudge to the human eye is actually a vast star-forming cloud known as the Orion Nebula. It is about 24 light-years in diameter (for scale, it takes light only about 5 hours to travel from the Sun to Pluto!).

Despite being approximately 1,300 light-years from Earth, the nebula can easily be seen with the naked eye.

Peering inward with the Hubble Telescope, astronomers have spotted tiny disks surrounding some newborn stars forming within the Orion Nebula. These proplyds (short for protoplanetary disks) contain the building materials for future Solar Systems.

Let gravity do its thing for a few million years and voila! You have yourself a system of planets in orbit around a fledgling star.

Once a star ignites, its lifespan is dependent upon its mass. The most massive stars shine magnificently but are doomed to destruction. Stars such as Deneb in Cygnus and Rigel and Betelgeuse in Orion fall in that category.

The star Bellatrix (one of many names borrowed from the sky by author J.K. Rowling for her Harry Potter novels) may also meet the same fate, but its mass is borderline.

At the other end of the stellar spectrum, dull, reddish, low-mass stars may burn for trillions of years. Our Suns nearest neighbor star, Proxima Centauri, is such a star. They dont garner much attention, but they are the most numerous types of stars in the Universe.

Stars are typically born in clusters, such as the magnificent Pleiades in Taurus or the Beehive Cluster in Cancer the Crab.

The young stars of these so-called Open Clusters will drift apart after a relatively short time, but for now, they often make perfect viewing targets for a pair of binoculars or a small backyard scope.

The vast majority of stars, including our Sun, will never explode as a supernova. Instead, they will undergo a remarkable transformation toward the end of their energy-producing run in which the stars outer shell separates from its core. As the outer material drifts away, the inner shell acts like a lightbulb illuminating the outer shell like a lampshade.

These short-lived planetary nebulas are some of the most colorful, striking, and intricate objects in the heavens. The Ring Nebula in Lyra and the Dumbbell Nebula in Vulpecula are planetary nebulas worth searching for (although a telescope will be needed).

As for the ultra-massive stars that do experience a fiery, explosive end, the shell of these supernova explosions form yet another type of nebula called a supernova remnant, or SNR. These are rare objects in part because they dissipate rapidly. The Crab Nebula in Taurus is a prime example.

Collectively, these nebulas and star clusters allow astronomers to understand the life cycle of stars. For generations, astronomers have painstakingly pieced together this complex tale of stellar evolution. And although there are always gaps in our knowledge, astronomers now understand the physics of stars to a remarkable degree and can predict their fate to a high degree of accuracy.

Whether you are learning to identify the constellations with only your eyes and an app as a guide, or you are beginning to scan the skies for nebulas and star clusters with a telescope or binoculars, countless treasures await your discovery.

Take some time to learn the night sky as our ancestors once did. Each of these celestial gems has a story to tell.

Kyle Jeter has been reading about Astronomy since he was five years old and has never stopped learning since. Since 1994, he has both lived in Coral Springs and worked at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. He has a daughter, Kayla, and a son named Kyle. Jeter started the Astronomy program at the high school in 1997.

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Retired NASA Engineers Return to Fix Hubble Telescope – Smithsonian Magazine

Posted: July 29, 2021 at 8:49 pm

When a 31-year-old space computer doesnt work as well as it used to, its time to call in the folks who built the system decades ago.

Thats exactly what scientists repairing NASAs Hubble Space Telescope did when it failed in June. Retired staff and others who helped build the orbiting telescope returned to assist the current team, some of whom were not even born in 1990 when the telescope was first launched into space.

Thats one of the benefits of a program thats been running for over 30 years: the incredible amount of experience and expertise, says Nzinga Tull, Hubble systems anomaly response manager, in a NASA press release. Its been humbling and inspiring to engage with both the current team and those who have moved on to other projects. Theres so much dedication to their fellow Hubble teammates, the observatory and the science Hubble is famous for.

Their efforts paid off handsomely. Hubble went back online July 17 and has been relaying spectacular images back to Earth ever since. Two black-and-white photos in particular provide incredible detail of two distant galaxiesa rare view of ARP-MADORE2115-273, a system with interacting stars located 297 million light-years from Earth, and ARP-MADORE0002-503, an unusual three-tailed spiral cluster about 490 million light-years away, reports George Dvorsky for Gizmodo.

The photos were produced by a team led by astronomer Julianne Dalcanton of the University of Washington in Seattle. They are using the restored Hubble, which orbits Earth at 340 miles in altitude, to collect images of unusual galaxies.

Ill confess to having had a few nervous moments during Hubbles shutdown, but I also had faith in NASAs amazing engineers and technicians, she says in a news release posted on NASAs Hubble website.

Of course, the new images would not have been possible if older scientists had not been available to help service the telescope. The Hubble main computer shut down June 13, placing all instruments in safe mode. When that happened, NASA scrambled to contact team members who had worked on the telescope three and four decades earlier, reports Tariq Malik of

While some of the retired staff connected remotely because of Covid-19 restrictions, others still working at NASAs Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland pored over old manuscripts and documents looking for clues to fix the problem.

After weeks of head scratching and problem solving, old and young engineers determined a glitch in the computers power control unit was the likely culprit. NASA did a work-around by switching to backup units and rebooting the system, writes Brandon Specktor for

Im thrilled to see that Hubble has its eye back on the universe, once again capturing the kind of images that have intrigued and inspired us for decades, says NASA administrator Bill Nelson in the press release. This is a moment to celebrate the success of a team truly dedicated to the mission. Through their efforts, Hubble will continue its 32nd year of discovery, and we will continue to learn from the observatorys transformational vision.

Now that the repaired Hubble Space Telescope is running as normal, its expected to work in tandem with the new James Webb Space Telescope when its slated to launch later this yearunless the new telescope faces further delays, Specktor reports.

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YSU professor has 2 projects with the Hubble Telescope –

Posted: at 8:49 pm

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) The Hubble Telescope is back online.

It was sidelined by a computer glitch for over a month and its camera eye was closed. And that put YSU professor Dr. Patrick Durrell in a bit of a panic.

When it had computer problems last month, I was sitting here, Im still hoping to get data, Durrell said.

Every year, Durrell routinely writes proposals to collaborate with colleagues and friends to apply for time with the telescope.

Durrell got notice last week that two projects he was on received time with Hubble from the thousands of ideas submitted.

He was just waiting for the telescope to be fixed, and it resumed operations last Saturday.

Its wonderful from a science point of view but also a personal point of view, Im like yes! he said.

Both projects will look at dwarf galaxies.

Durrell wants to understand them a little more. He says theyre close enough you can see some of the stars and star clusters in them, and you can see them in more detail with Hubble.

He believes its important to understand how galaxies formed in all sizes.

If we take a patch of sky, theres a few big, big galaxies, a few more Milky Way-sized galaxies and then lots of these little dwarf galaxies. So how do they fit in? Durrell asks.

Hubble has been orbiting Earth since 1990. Its the length of a bus and travels five miles every second.

Its been used to check out a galaxy 13 billion light years away.

Durrell will get 15 orbits to have Hubbles cameras point at the dwarf galaxies to take pictures.

We need to study, is this a new galaxy making stars now or has it always been there and its just been hanging around for 10 billion years? We dont know until we get the Hubble data, Durrell said.

The professor expects to get the data some time in the next year to 18 months.

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NASA Hubble Shares Beautiful Image Of Two Interacting Galaxies In NGC 6745! – Mashable India

Posted: at 8:49 pm

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently shared an image of a birds eye view of two interacting galaxies in NGC 6745. The image has been shared on NASA Hubbles official Instagram account and has gathered over 70,000 likes 100 comments.

SEE ALSO: NASA Hubble Shares Beautiful Video Of An Intricate Nebula NGC 5189!

The caption for the image states, The aftermath of an intergalactic collision This #HubbleClassic features a birds eye view of two interacting galaxies in NGC 6745. Gas and dust clouds collide, triggering star formation under high velocities and pressure. NGC 6745 is located around 200 million light-years away and is spread about 80,000 light-years across.

Resembling the shape of a birds head, this cosmic display showcases the aftermath of a damaging collision between two galaxies, with hot, blue stars indicating stellar formation. Check out this stunning image:

NASA Hubble is regularly sharing new images of our universe on Instagram. So, if youre a space nerd, you should keep tabs on the Hubble Instagram page. Space also recently shared an image and intricate Nebula NGC 5189! It has been shared by NASAs official Hubble Space Telescope Instagram page where it has received more than 90,000 views and over 100 comments. People have reacted to the video with comments like this is amazing, wow, and so beautiful among others.

SEE ALSO: This Tool By NASA Tells You What Hubble Telescope Observed In Space On Your Birthday!

NASA recently also shared an image of a star cluster in this #HubbleFriday image known by many names: Dun 538, H 3688, and Pismis 25. NGC 6380 is a globular cluster, which is a spherical group of stars bound together by gravity. Globular clusters often contain some of the oldest stars in their galaxies!

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Hobbled Hubble Telescope Springs Back To Life On Its Backup System – NPR

Posted: July 18, 2021 at 5:19 pm

Images of the Eagle Nebula show the Hubble Space Telescope's ability to capture pictures in both visible (left) and infrared (right) light. NASA is celebrating the successful restart of the telescope's payload computer, opening the door to more observations. NASA hide caption

Images of the Eagle Nebula show the Hubble Space Telescope's ability to capture pictures in both visible (left) and infrared (right) light. NASA is celebrating the successful restart of the telescope's payload computer, opening the door to more observations.

The Hubble Space Telescope is returning to operation more than a month after its original payload computer shut down. NASA said it has successfully switched over to its backup computer and while the process of bringing the system back online is slow, the agency has started to bring science instruments out of "safe mode."

"There was cheering in the control center" on Thursday night when word came that NASA had managed to restore the payload computer, James Jeletic, Hubble's deputy project manager, told NPR.

"There's a big sense of relief," Jeletic said.

"We believed that this all would work, but, you know, you're dealing with the space business and all kinds of surprises can come your way. But we didn't get any surprises."

As for when the telescope will beam its first breathtaking images back to Earth since the restart, the wait should be a short one.

"The first observations will hopefully be done over the weekend," Jeletic said. Accounting for the time it takes to receive and process the data, he predicted, "you probably would see the first images come out sometime in the beginning of next week."

The relief and joy comes more than a month after the space telescope stopped collecting images and other data on June 13 when the payload computer that controls its science instruments suddenly shut down. (The computer that runs the Hubble spacecraft remained online.)

For weeks, NASA scientists worked on possible solutions to bring the payload computer back, but none of those ideas worked.

Initial system tests struggled to isolate the problem a process complicated by the hundreds of miles separating the Hubble team from the computer and other components. But as every system failure stubbornly remained, the team came to believe that only one glitch would account for such widespread problems: the power control unit, which sends electricity to all the hardware.

To work through the problem, the team studied schematics of the original designs that date back decades.

"We even had people come out of retirement who were experts in these areas on Hubble to help us," Jeletic said.

The system's successful restart, he added, "has a lot to say for the people who designed the spacecraft 40 years ago."

Hubble's scientific payload is running on its backup computer system, he said, because the team had already set it up to run on secondary units while working on the outage. It opted to stay on the backup system, Jeletic said, to simplify the restart process.

Hubble carries backups of all its components, part of the original engineers' plans to cope with such problems. As of now, it's down to just one power control unit. But the Hubble team also thinks there's a chance the power unit might simply fix itself over time.

Outlining two ways that could happen, Jeletic said the unit may simply need to sit cold for a while to let electricity dissipate. There's also a chance it failed due to "circuit drift," he said, explaining that the circuit may have drifted out of its operational setting and that it might simply drift back.

The successful restart is just the latest comeback for Hubble, which was originally scheduled for only 15 years of service. It was placed into orbit in April 1990 after hitching a ride aboard the space shuttle Discovery.

Hubble's main onboard computer is an Intel 486 computer whose 25 megahertz speed was the best available (and rated for space travel) when astronauts upgraded the system around the turn of the century.

"It has about 2 megabytes of memory," Jeletic said. "So you can compare that to your latest iPhone. It's very, very primitive by today's standard of what you wear on your wrist, but it's more than enough for what we need to do."

Those components, which would be deemed vintage or simply obsolete in today's computer market, are responsible for sending more than 1.5 million observations of nebulae, galaxies and star clusters back to Earth's surface. And now that work will continue.

"Today, we still only use about 60[%] to 70% of its memory and its capacity to do all the things that Hubble does," Jeletic said.

But Hubble is now in a situation many smartphone users may identify with: While tech support is still available, hardware support has been discontinued since NASA completed its final servicing mission in 2009.

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Worlds largest telescope will see better with Irish technology – The Irish Times

Posted: July 14, 2021 at 1:35 pm

The worlds largest telescope the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) is under construction in Chile. When it captures its first light, sometime in 2027 or 2028, Irish adaptive optics technology will be there to ensure it sees further and with greater clarity than any telescope in human history.

The opportunity for Irish astronomers to take part in the ELT project arose when the government decided to join the European Southern Observatory (ESO) the top intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe in 2018. Membership cost 14.66 million, with an annual fee of 3.5 million.

A team of researchers at NUI Galway, led by Dr Nicholas Devaney, with expertise in adaptive optics are involved in the ELT project as part of a consortium also involving the Grenoble Institute for Planetary Sciences and Astrophysics and the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) in Italy.

The consortium will design and manage the construction of an instrument on the ELT, called multi-conjugate adaptive optics relay (MAORY), which corrects image distortion due to atmosphere blurring. The NUIG team were invited to join the MAORY project based on their scientific reputation.

The Galway team is responsible for the device we call the test unit that is needed to pass all the performance on this domain here in Europe and then also when we arrive on the mountains in Chile, says Paolo Ciliegi, an astronomer at INAF; the overall principal investigator of MAORY.

They put on the table their expertise in adaptive optics and also the construction of this test unit, Ciliegi adds.

The construction of the ELT at an altitude of some 10,000 feet on top of a mountain called Cerro Amazones has halted due to the Covid situation in Chile. The site is in the Atacama Desert, a high plateau covering an area slightly bigger than Ireland, and made up mostly of stones, salt and sand.

The altitude puts it above the cloud line, so there is very little precipitation, which can distort telescope images of space. That dryness this is the driest desert on the planet outside the poles make it an ideal location for astronomers to view the heavens. Yet the ELT must still peer up and out through about 480km of atmosphere, with the distortion that this brings.

When you feel the bumpiness in an airplane thats the atmospheric turbulence, says Devaney. The turbulent atmosphere, he says, is made up of bubbles of air with differing temperatures. The speed of light through air varies slightly with the temperature of the air through which it travels.

The net effect of this is to reduce the sharpness of images from space that a ground telescope can gather. That introduces distortions in the light which leads to a blurry image instead of a sharper image, he adds.

Adaptive optics technology works hard to overcome such atmospheric distortion. This task is akin to gathering light that has been bent and scattered in water and rebuilding it into its underformed original form. This is the job that the MAORY instrument will be performing for the ELT.

A limitation of adaptive optics technology up to now has been that it relies on a natural constellation of bright stars to sharpen distorted images from an optical telescope viewing a big area of sky, but such constellations are not always available. In order to get over this issue scientists use guide stars.

The ELT is going to generate six artificial laser-generated guide stars which will act like a natural constellation of six bright stars to facilitate adaptive optics to work wherever the ELT is pointing towards in the sky. It has proved a huge challenge over decades to get the lasers up to sufficient power to produce bright enough guide stars to facilitate adaptive optics.

After much research scientists decided to use a sodium wavelength for producing guide stars. This is because there is a natural layer of charged sodium ions in the Earths atmosphere at an altitude of 90km, which can be excited and energized by a laser so that it looks just like a natural star.

This is perfect for astronomers, says Devaney. Its like the ions were put out there specifically for that purpose. It means that it is possible to make constellations of artificial guide stars using the six lasers on the ELT.

An optical telescope works by gathering light through mirrors. The bigger its mirrors the more light the telescope can gather and the farther it can see. The main mirror of the ELT will be an enormous 39 metres ( 127.9ft), in diameter. Thats roughly equivalent to 21 men, six feet tall, lying head to toe.

The designers knew that technically it wasnt possible to construct the main mirror as one piece. They also knew that it would be difficult to carry large mirror segments to a mountain top. A decision was therefore made to separately make 798 hexagonal-shaped segments; each 1.5 metres wide weighing 250kg, which, when aligned carefully together, would make up the main ELT mirror.

The mirror segments had to be aligned with nano-metre precision, and that alignment has to be maintained as the telescope moves and tracks objects. There are some 9,000 tiny sensors arranged around each segment so that any kind of motion in one segment with respect to another is accounted for.

There are also actuators that bend the mirrors into optimum shape. The biggest optical telescopes today have three mirrors. The ELT will have five.

In return for Devaneys team working on the adaptive optics on the ELT his astronomer colleagues at NUIG are to be offered ELT observation time. One of those scientists hoping to use the ELT to advance his work is physicist Dr Matt Redman, director of the centre of astronomy at NUIG.

Redman is interested in planetary nebulae. These are badly named celestial objects as they have nothing to do with planets. They looked like planets when viewed by the first telescopes so thats how they got the name. They might better be described as the glowing shell of gas ejected from a dying star.

These nebulae are observed in a variety of shapes including butterfly-shaped, elliptical, spherical, ring-shaped, bi-polar, cylindrical and round.

The big mystery is that the Sun is round, spherical and will turn into one of these objects, and these objects are not round and spherical, says Redman. The most likely idea is a companion star, or even a companion planet, disturbing the material as the dying star throws it off, he explains.

I am hoping the MAORY will be able to get right into the centre of these objects and we might even see that shaping mechanism happening, he adds.

There are some who question the economic and scientific logic of building expensive telescopes on the top of Chilean mountains in order to see through atmospheric distortion when it is possible to put a space telescope, like the Hubble telescope, into orbit up where atmospheric distortion is not a factor.

The justification lies in the cost of getting telescopes into orbit against building them on Earth. The Hubble Space Telescope, which had a primary mirror 2.4metres wide, cost 2.5 billion (today equivalent) to get into orbit and operational. The ELT will cost some 1.3 billion; about half the price.

This point of view holds that although they do different things, ground-based telescopes like ELT give more scientific bang for your buck than space telescopes. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), set to launch in November, will cost 8.2 billion.

The ELT sees farther, clearer. You are able to collect a lot more, like with a 39-metre mirror, says Devaney. You are able to see further away and see things that are much fainter, such as really faint galaxies. The ELT will be able to see things that are fainter than was possible with the Hubble.

The huge jump in astronomical capability that the ELT will provide is likely to trigger a round of unexpected scientific findings that will change our understanding of the Universe and how it was formed in its earliest days.

Weve seen it before. For example, in 1998 data from the Hubble led scientists to conclude the universe was expanding at an ever accelerating rate. Each time there is a big step forward like this it leads to a huge mushrooming of astronomical activities and discoveries, says Devaney.

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Hubble Telescope’s payload computer is down. NASA has spent days trying to fix it. – USA TODAY

Posted: June 24, 2021 at 11:31 pm

The Hubble Telescope's payload computer is broken. NASA has spent over a week trying to fix it. USA TODAY

NASA has spent more than a week trying to fix the Hubble Telescope's computer hardware issues.

The problem: a1980s-era payload computer, which is supposed to control and coordinate scientific instruments aboard the spacecraft and monitor them for health and safety purposes, stopped working June 13, according to a NASA statement.

"After the halt occurred ... the main computer stopped receiving a keep-alive signal, which is a standard handshake between the payload and main spacecraft computers to indicate all is well," NASA said in the statement.

The payload computer is part of the Science Instrument Command and Data Handling module, which was replaced in 2009 during the last astronaut-servicing mission to Hubble, which launched in 1990.

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The main computer has put all the scientific instruments into safe mode. An attempt to restart the computer the next day failed.

Further attempts to switch to a backup memory module and obtain diagnostic information on both modules also failed.

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured astonishing images of deep space, such as the trailing arms of NGC 2276, a spiral galaxy in the constellation Cepheus, 120 million light-years away from Earth.(Photo: -, ESA/HUBBLE/AFP via Getty Images)

The Hubble Space Telescope operations team told USA TODAYthat initial indications pointed to a degrading computer memory module as the source of the halt, but the team is still collecting data.

"The operations team will be running tests and collecting more information on the system to further isolate the problem.The science instruments will remain in a safe mode state until the issue is resolved," the statement said.

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Theteam told USA TODAY that the computer has on several occasions locked up or froze. In those cases,the computer has been restarted and normal science operations were restored.

"This is similar to your laptop periodically freezing and needing a reboot," the teamsaid, adding that there is not a firm timeline for bringing the computer online again.

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NASAs Hubble space telescope captures stunning galaxy …

Posted: June 11, 2021 at 12:14 pm

NASAs Hubble space telescope has captured a stunning image of a galaxys spiral pattern.

A joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency, the Hubble telescope has captured a host of beautiful images since its launch in 1990. In its image of the day on Friday NASA highlighted an image of galaxy NGC 5468 that was caught by Hubble.

The galaxy has been home to a number of supernovae, or explosions that occur when stars die.


Despite being just over 130 million light-years away, the orientation of the galaxy with respect to us makes it easier to spot these new stars as they appear; we see NGC 5468 face on, meaning we can see the galaxys loose, open spiral pattern in beautiful detail in images such as this one from theNASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, said the ESA, in a statement posted on NASAs website.

Galaxy NGC 5468. (Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, W. Li et al.)

A light-year, which measures distance in space, equals 6 trillion miles.

Last year NASA showed off a remarkable image of a "ghost nebula"captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.


The Hubble Space Telescope was launched aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990. NASA notes that the orbiting telescope was required to last 15 years, but has been in operation for more than 28. The Advanced Camera for Surveys was installed in 2002 but suffered a power supply failure in 2007. It was repaired by astronauts during a servicing mission in 2009.

Earlier this year the telescope suffered a camera glitch after software was incorrectly loaded onto one of its key instruments.


NASA partners with the European Space Agency on the telescope, which is managed from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Fox News Zoe Szathmary contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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Hubble photo shows cosmic cloud making its very own bright light – Mashable

Posted: May 16, 2021 at 12:48 pm

The legendary Hubble telescope captured an intriguing cosmic cloud a cloud that makes its own light.

Called an "emissions nebula," it's a bright cloud whose gases get excited by radiation from nearby stars, and ultimately emit light. (In other words, this isn't starlight isn't being reflected off the gas.)

The right side of this image, however, is darkened by a great cloud of dust, which blocks light from reaching the Hubble Space Telescope.

Generally, nebulae are "enormous clouds of dust and gas occupying the space between the stars," explains NASA. They can form in different ways, sometimes as leftovers of exploded stars.

SEE ALSO: The space race forged immortal rock and roll guitars

In the coming decades and beyond, the citizens of Earth will likely be treated to bounties of more glowing space objects, and in unprecedented detail. That's because NASA and its space partners plan to launch a giant next-generation telescope in Oct. 2021. It's called the James Webb Space Telescope, and it's the most powerful space telescope ever built.

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Hubble photo shows cosmic cloud making its very own bright light - Mashable

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