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Hubble Telescope

  • Edwin Hubble’s Discoveries

    Edwin Hubble’s Discoveries
    With the telescope at Mt. Wilson Observatory astronomer Edwin Hubble measures the distances and velocities of galaxies—work that led to his discovery of the expanding Universe.
  • Idea of The Space Telescope Introduced

    Idea of The Space Telescope Introduced
    Astrophysicist Lyman Spitzer, Jr., published a paper introducing the idea of a large space telescope. At the time, no satellite had yet been launched into orbit.
  • NASA

    After the launch of Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union in 1957, Congress passed the Space Act in July 1958. The Space Act created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. It came into effect on October 1, 1958.
  • Meeting for the Large Space Telescope

    Meeting for the Large Space Telescope
    Astrophysicists and engineers held their first working group meeting for the Large Space Telescope. Concepts for the space telescope, as well as budget and technical requirements for the spacecraft were developed.
  • Project Begins

    Project Begins
    Funding for the Large Space Telescope project, approved by the United States Congress earlier in 1977, took affect and the project officially began.
  • Grinding The Mirror

    Grinding The Mirror
    Preliminary grinding work began on the 2.4-meter (7.9-foot) primary mirror for the Large Space Telescope. Grinding a telescope’s mirror shapes it so that it focuses incoming light from astronomical targets.
  • The Telescope Gets a Name

    The Telescope Gets a Name
    The Large Space Telescope was renamed in honor of astronomer Edwin Hubble, for his discovers of the universe.
  • Hubble Goes to Space

    Hubble Goes to Space
    Space shuttle Discovery launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying five astronauts and the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Hubble's First Image

    Hubble's First Image
    The first image from the Hubble Space Telescope highlights the advantage of photographing stars from above Earth's atmosphere.
  • Supernova 1987A

    Supernova 1987A
    Hubble observed the remnants of Supernova 1987A. In unprecedented detail, Hubble revealed characteristics in a shell of material surrounding the supernova.
  • Old and Boron

    Old and Boron
    Astronomers using Hubble had detected the rare element boron in an ancient star. This discovery suggested that the element boron might have been evidence of energetic events that occurred with the birth of our Milky Way galaxy.
  • Updates Available

    Updates Available
    The primary mission of Servicing Mission 1 was to install two new instruments on Hubble. The first was the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. The second instrument was the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR). Following the success of SM1, observations from the Hubble Space Telescope were no longer “blurry.”
  • Supermassive Black Holes

    Supermassive Black Holes
    Hubble observations confirmed the existence of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies.
  • The Birth of a Star

    The Birth of a Star
    Images of newborn stars emerging from dense pockets of interstellar gas in the Eagle Nebula.
  • Servicing Mission Two

    Servicing Mission Two
    The goals of Servicing Mission 2 included the installation of the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) and the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS).
  • The Universe is Accelerating

    The Universe is Accelerating
    Astronomers using Hubble published the first evidence that the expansion of the universe is not slowing down, as expected, but accelerating. The results were based on distance measurements to supernovae located so far away that they allowed astronomers to determine the expansion rate of the universe.
  • Safety Mode

    Safety Mode
    Hubble was put into “safe mode” after the failure of a fourth gyroscope.
  • Third Servicing Mission

    Third Servicing Mission
    Hubble’s third servicing mission was split into two following the spacecraft’s gyroscope failures and its immediate need for servicing. The primary goals of space shuttle Discovery’s seven astronauts was to restore Hubble to working order and upgrade its systems. Astronauts installed a new computer as well as all new gyroscopes.
  • A Growing Planet

    A Growing Planet
    Astronomers released pictures from Hubble that provided the first direct visual evidence of planetary “building blocks” within dusty disks around young stars. The “protoplanetary disks” are located in the Orion Nebula approximately 1,500 light-years from Earth.
  • Servicing Mission 3b

    Servicing Mission 3b
    The second part of servicing mission 3. Servicing Mission 3B was aimed at updating Hubble.
  • Columbia Lost

    Columbia Lost
    space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon reentering Earth’s atmosphere after a 15-day mission in space, killing all seven astronauts on board.
  • Servicing Mission 4 Canceled Temporarily

    Servicing Mission 4 Canceled Temporarily
    Hubble’s fifth servicing mission (Servicing Mission 4) was officially canceled. The cancellation followed the Columbia disaster of February 2003 and publication of the final report from the accident’s review board.
  • Proof of Dark Matter

    Proof of Dark Matter
    Astronomers using Hubble, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ground-based telescopes released direct proof of dark matter in the galaxy cluster 1E 0657-56, also known as the Bullet Cluster.
  • Servicing Mission 4 reinstated

    Servicing Mission 4 reinstated
    Hubble’s fifth servicing mission was reinstated as STS-125, during which space shuttle astronauts would visit the telescope to extend the life of the observatory and improve its scientific capabilities. The Hubble Telescope is still in use today making great discoveries