BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Even though it was originally designed to serve until 2005, the Hubble Telescope will serve until the 30th of June, 2021. The veteran telescope was launched in 1990, and it had a life expectancy of only 15 years.
So far, it has exceeded all expectations and is still in operation today. A mission which took place in 2009 was expected to be Hubble’s last one since James Webb Telescope is expected to be launched in 2018.
The Hubble Telescope has now got a life extension. It is expected to remain in orbit even beyond 2021 and to function alongside the James Webb Telescope, the latter focusing on infra-red imaging.
NASA announced that Hubble is better than it was before. It will continue to gather information about the Solar System and the deep Universe into the 2020s. The veteran telescope deserves a special place in astronomy history, for helping scientists unlock some of the secrets of the Universe.
Over time, the Hubble Telescope made some very important discoveries. Here are a few of Hubble’s more notable moments:
The latest of Hubble’s discoveries is a dark spot on Neptune’s surface. The spot represents a vortex, which is a regular phenomenon on Neptune. Such storms can last for hundreds of years, on the surface of planets like Neptune or Jupiter.
Other important events observed by Hubble include final explosions of massive stars, distant supernovas, and of course dark matter. Remember that famous movie quote: “ The Universe is expanding?” Well we now know that is the case because of the Hubble Telescope.
Hubble has also helped NASA to find possibly habitable planets in the Universe. To be taken into consideration as possible candidates for supporting life, these planets have to have water vapors in the atmosphere and revolve around a star. So far, the veteran telescope has detected WASP-12b, HD209458b, and HD189733b.
Before considering to relocate, take into consideration that they are very far away, between 60 and 900 light-years away, have hot atmospheres with a maximum of 2200 degrees Celsius and therefore are probably not supporting life.
Researchers did find water, but it is in very small amounts. This was contrary to their expectancy of finding an abundance of water on these planets.
Until it retires, Hubble continues to search for other planets which might support life.
Image Source – Wikipedia