The new year marked a landmark achievement for National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Hubble telescope. In a recent press release, NASA announced that the Hubble telescope passed the one billion second mark in space. NASA deployed Hubble telescope on April 25, 1990, from the Space Shuttle Discovery’s cargo bay. It was on January 1 this year that it completed one-billion seconds, which is over 31 years since Hubble began operating.
The powerful telescope has provided astronomers and space enthusiasts with some of the spectacular images from space for more than three decades. Some of the groundbreaking scientific discoveries and iconic images of space have been credited to Hubble which has made a million observations and provided data to the astronomers who have used it to write more than 19,000 peer-reviewed scientific publications.
The telescope was developed as a partnership between the United States space program and the European Space Agency (ESA). The telescope orbits 547 kilometers above Earth’s surface, and gazes outward into space. Beyond the distorting effects of the Earth’s atmosphere, which clouds the starlight and blocks some crucial wavelengths of light from reaching the ground, Hubble’s clear vision has provided scientists with some revealing images and greater understanding of our universe. This unique position of Hubble has allowed it to observe astronomical objects and unique phenomena more consistently and with better clarity than any telescope from ground-based observatories on Earth.
NASA informed in its statement that Hubble’s first one-billion seconds saw five astronaut servicing missions to replace and repair components of the telescope. It should also be noted that Hubble was joined by another telescope earlier in December. The recently launched James Webb Space Telescope will directly observe a part of space and time never seen before. According to NASA, Webb will be gazing into the epoch when the very first stars and galaxies were formed, over 13.5 billion years ago. The American space agency will also be launching the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope built upon Hubble’s discoveries and will work together with Hubble to expand our understanding of the universe.