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(Life.com)   21 years ago today, the Hubble telescope was launched into space aboard the shuttle Discovery. Permission to gawp in silent, wide-eyed wonder most definitely granted   (life.com) divider line 44
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4416 clicks; posted to Geek » on 24 Apr 2011 at 7:07 AM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2011-04-24 07:45:24 AM
What no Deep Field and Ultra Deep Field? Life, I am dissapoint.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2011-04-24 08:15:15 AM
I've always liked the Eta Carinae double explosion picture.
 
2011-04-24 08:18:22 AM

mikesup: What no Deep Field and Ultra Deep Field? Life, I am disappoint.


THIS.

Of course, being reminded of our true significance in this universe makes a lot of people uncomfortable (not to mention angry).
 
2011-04-24 08:29:59 AM
Get your Hubble Wallpaper here. (new window)
 
2011-04-24 08:41:33 AM
Didn't mind clicking through that slideshow, which is pretty rare these days.
 
2011-04-24 09:16:49 AM
Every once in awhile, it turns out right.


/Let's get it done right again.
 
2011-04-24 09:23:15 AM
Life knows how to do slideshows. The page doesn't reset when you go from slide to slide. When the "next" button doesn't stay in place, you fail at writing webpages.
 
2011-04-24 09:38:31 AM

rogue49: Every once in awhile, it turns out right.


/Let's get it done right again.


newsimg.bbc.co.uk
 
2011-04-24 10:06:13 AM
From its launch in April 1990 until the repair flight by the shuttle Endeavor in December 1993 the Hubble's pictures were all out of focus. There were editorials about how we shouldn't be spending billions on NASA if this was an example of what they could accomplish-remembering that the Challenger disaster was still fresh in everyones mind. Even Gary Larson's Far Side made fun of the Hubble with a cartoon 'picture' of an alien in a flying sauce who was out of focus and triple exposed.

We've forgotten (or never known) how this was used by people as an example of why NOT to spend on science and technology.
 
2011-04-24 10:22:25 AM
And then we gave it some glasses and told all of those people to STFU.
 
2011-04-24 10:23:11 AM

Benucio: Didn't mind clicking through that slideshow, which is pretty rare these days.


Having to click on a "read more" button to get the full descriptive text for every photo did for me in the end.

I was impressed by the 10 or so pics that I saw though.
 
2011-04-24 10:52:02 AM
Well, don't just stand there. Buy that telescope a drink!
 
2011-04-24 11:43:02 AM
God I feel old...
 
2011-04-24 11:43:24 AM

dionysusaur: Of course, being reminded of our true significance in this universe makes a lot of people uncomfortable (not to mention angry).


Eh, I dunno. I mean, you're definitely right about the people-getting-angry part. But I'm not sure our "true significance" is revealed by a telescope. It definitely demonstrates what we already knew, which is that the universe is gigantic and has a lot of cool astrophysical shiat in it. But the whole pale-blue-dot, we're-unworthy-of-this-preposterously-giant-ass-universe-of-which-we-inhabit-the -tiniest-speck attitude always seemed like false humility. Because by that logic, NOTHING in the universe is "significant," not even groups of galactic clusters. (Of which there are countless thousands, none more special than the next.)

At the moment and for the immediate future, we're sentient beings that live (with a dozen or so exceptions at a time) in a little ribbon of atmosphere on the skin of a single planet. Under the circumstances it's not some kind of giant moral failing to be a little planet-centric. It's a neat feeling to let yourself get blown away by the vastness and intricacy of the universe, but it always makes me a little uncomfortable to see how anxious some people (not necessarily you, dionysusaur) are to turn that into a scourge of small cords for us unworthy, arrogant humans to whip ourselves back into humility with.
 
2011-04-24 11:47:31 AM

Steve Zodiac: We've forgotten (or never known) how this was used by people as an example of why NOT to spend on science and technology.



Oh, I remember quite well. But then, I signed up for my PhD project with Hubble literally weeks before launch, and some of those fuzzy pictures were all I had for two years to do my work.

People railed against Hubble, and in fact had been for years; it was behind schedule and overbudget for a long time. There are all sorts of political reasons for that - politics in science as well as in DC - but the bottom line was the press had a field day when it was determined the mirror was ground incorrectly (there was even a Congressional investigation). NASA went into full defense mode, playing up every image press release from Hubble as if it were the greatest thing science has ever seen (a running joke among astronomers was wondering how many times Hubble could find the best evidence for a black hole yet).

But as Hubble kept churning out observation after observation, especially after the focus was corrected, that was forgotten. And then the Eagle Nebula (Pillars of Creation) image came out, and that was that - Hubble became the success story it is today, and deservedly so.

Now, two decades later, hardly anyone remembers the Hubble troubles. And the telescope has revolutionized astronomy, but in my mind it is just as important that it also changed the way the public saw astronomy.

I still am a big fan of the telescope, having spent about ten years of my life working on it in one aspect or another. And it's still good for a few more years, too.
 
2011-04-24 12:35:42 PM

The Bad Astronomer: Steve Zodiac: We've forgotten (or never known) how this was used by people as an example of why NOT to spend on science and technology.


Oh, I remember quite well. But then, I signed up for my PhD project with Hubble literally weeks before launch, and some of those fuzzy pictures were all I had for two years to do my work.

People railed against Hubble, and in fact had been for years; it was behind schedule and overbudget for a long time. There are all sorts of political reasons for that - politics in science as well as in DC - but the bottom line was the press had a field day when it was determined the mirror was ground incorrectly (there was even a Congressional investigation). NASA went into full defense mode, playing up every image press release from Hubble as if it were the greatest thing science has ever seen (a running joke among astronomers was wondering how many times Hubble could find the best evidence for a black hole yet).

But as Hubble kept churning out observation after observation, especially after the focus was corrected, that was forgotten. And then the Eagle Nebula (Pillars of Creation) image came out, and that was that - Hubble became the success story it is today, and deservedly so.

Now, two decades later, hardly anyone remembers the Hubble troubles. And the telescope has revolutionized astronomy, but in my mind it is just as important that it also changed the way the public saw astronomy.

I still am a big fan of the telescope, having spent about ten years of my life working on it in one aspect or another. And it's still good for a few more years, too.


Cool story, bro. I kid, Hubble is amazing and thanks to people like yourself we get to reap the benefits.
 
2011-04-24 01:15:03 PM
The Bad Astronomer:

I've been watching your work on the Science channel. Keep up the good work.
 
2011-04-24 01:27:14 PM
And it's still good for a few more years, too.

Forgive me. This puzzles me. What happens in a few more years? Does it stop working/something breaks? Or will the Hubblers be redeployed somewhere else?

I get all ... sentimental ... about the HST. Probably wrongly, I know. Can't it keep going more more more?
 
2011-04-24 01:34:53 PM
semiotix 2011-04-24 11:43:24 AM
dionysusaur: Of course, being reminded of our true significance in this universe makes a lot of people uncomfortable (not to mention angry).

Eh, I dunno. I mean, you're definitely right about the people-getting-angry part. But I'm not sure our "true significance" is revealed by a telescope. It definitely demonstrates what we already knew, which is that the universe is gigantic and has a lot of cool astrophysical shiat in it. But the whole pale-blue-dot, we're-unworthy-of-this-preposterously-giant-ass-universe-of-which-we-inhabit-the -tiniest-speck attitude always seemed like false humility. Because by that logic, NOTHING in the universe is "significant," not even groups of galactic clusters. (Of which there are countless thousands, none more special than the next.)

At the moment and for the immediate future, we're sentient beings that live (with a dozen or so exceptions at a time) in a little ribbon of atmosphere on the skin of a single planet. Under the circumstances it's not some kind of giant moral failing to be a little planet-centric. It's a neat feeling to let yourself get blown away by the vastness and intricacy of the universe, but it always makes me a little uncomfortable to see how anxious some people (not necessarily you, dionysusaur) are to turn that into a scourge of small cords for us unworthy, arrogant humans to whip ourselves back into humility with.



I feel like a GOD when I look at these pics.

Look at this place I inhabit!!

Of course I'm restricted to this beautiful little planet. That's just biology's limitation on me.

In spite of that limitation, I feel as if I'm part of all that out there, and that it's part of me,
and no, I don't need to smoke any quasi-legal green shiat to feel that way.
 
2011-04-24 01:41:19 PM
Hubble, Hubble!

I read that some astronomers think the Pillars of Creation might have been destroyed by a supernova, but we haven't seen the result yet.
 
2011-04-24 01:44:29 PM

PartTimeBuddha: And it's still good for a few more years, too.

Forgive me. This puzzles me. What happens in a few more years? Does it stop working/something breaks? Or will the Hubblers be redeployed somewhere else?

I get all ... sentimental ... about the HST. Probably wrongly, I know. Can't it keep going more more more?


You're not alone on the sentimental side. Last I heard, the HST is going to be pulled back into the atmosphere for a controlled burn and ocean splashdown.

I don't know why they feel the need to do this. Leave it up there forever. It's given us as much as or more than Voyager. Let it run until it dies on its own time.
 
2011-04-24 01:44:32 PM

This is a late parrot: Get your Hubble Wallpaper here. (new window)


Thanks!

The Bad AstronomerNow, two decades later, hardly anyone remembers the Hubble troubles. And the telescope has revolutionized astronomy, but in my mind it is just as important that it also changed the way the public saw astronomy.

Well said.
 
2011-04-24 01:51:09 PM
WOW!
Every time I see those pictures.
WOW!
 
2011-04-24 02:04:32 PM

PartTimeBuddha: And it's still good for a few more years, too.

Forgive me. This puzzles me. What happens in a few more years? Does it stop working/something breaks? Or will the Hubblers be redeployed somewhere else?


Hubble needs gyroscopes to keep itself pointed at targets. These spin rapidly, and eventually wear out. They get periodically replaced during servicing missions, but those are now officially over due to the end of the Shuttle. Once the gyros wear out, Hubble won't be able to stay pointed at objects any more. :(

It's possible that in the future we'll be able to get back to Hubble and upgrade it again, but I doubt that'll happen. It's very expensive, and just keeping it running costs a lot (I've heard $100 million a year). That's money that can be spent on newer, more state-of-the-art projects - remember, NASA's budget is finite. Money spent on one thing can't be spent on another.
 
2011-04-24 02:05:06 PM
I'd like to say leave Hubble up there too.

Yo, Bad Astronomer, can you put a word out to the astronomers' community or something concerning that...?
 
2011-04-24 02:07:41 PM
Those are just stunning. I love that I live in an age where things like this are possible. We get to see for ourselves what a great, big, beautiful universe we are a part of.
 
2011-04-24 02:10:43 PM
oops.......

OK, I shoulda remembered the gyros/orientation aspect.

So there would come a time when Hubble would have to be
absolutely shut down.

How long could she remain in that orbit?
 
2011-04-24 02:30:42 PM
My Dad and I took a day off work to drive to the Cape for that launch. It was our first shuttle launch (though you can see them from the Gulf coast on a clear launch day or night). We had been over for an Apollo, and the Apollo Soyuz launch.

Compared to those, she LEAPT into the sky. It was like 4th of July and a NHRA drag race rolled into one. Awesome day.

I miss you, Dad.
 
2011-04-24 02:33:09 PM

Kittypie070: In spite of that limitation, I feel as if I'm part of all that out there, and that it's part of me,
and no, I don't need to smoke any quasi-legal green shiat to feel that way.


Me either...But I DO anyway ;-)
 
2011-04-24 02:54:33 PM
Suck on that, other countries. Where are your pictures of galaxies billions of miles away? That's right, nowhere. USA! USA! USA!
 
2011-04-24 02:58:36 PM

The Bad Astronomer: PartTimeBuddha: And it's still good for a few more years, too.

Forgive me. This puzzles me. What happens in a few more years? Does it stop working/something breaks? Or will the Hubblers be redeployed somewhere else?

Hubble needs gyroscopes to keep itself pointed at targets. These spin rapidly, and eventually wear out. They get periodically replaced during servicing missions, but those are now officially over due to the end of the Shuttle. Once the gyros wear out, Hubble won't be able to stay pointed at objects any more. :(

It's possible that in the future we'll be able to get back to Hubble and upgrade it again, but I doubt that'll happen. It's very expensive, and just keeping it running costs a lot (I've heard $100 million a year). That's money that can be spent on newer, more state-of-the-art projects - remember, NASA's budget is finite. Money spent on one thing can't be spent on another.


So it's only good to go until the gyroscopes wear out and then it's a space garbage? That sucks, but I get your point. I wonder how much would it cost to leave it in orbit as a historical monument.
 
2011-04-24 06:16:45 PM

chaoswolf:
So it's only good to go until the gyroscopes wear out and then it's a space garbage? That sucks, but I get your point. I wonder how much would it cost to leave it in orbit as a historical monument.


It wouldn't "cost" anything to leave it in orbit after its gyroscopes fail. Problem is, once they fail we can't control it and prevent it from crashing into anything that might come near it. If it hit anything, there'd be a ton of new space junk which would be a BAD thing. That's why satellites need to be moved to a stable, out of the way orbit (or deorbited) while we still have control of them.
 
2011-04-24 06:38:30 PM

BZWingZero: chaoswolf:
So it's only good to go until the gyroscopes wear out and then it's a space garbage? That sucks, but I get your point. I wonder how much would it cost to leave it in orbit as a historical monument.

It wouldn't "cost" anything to leave it in orbit after its gyroscopes fail. Problem is, once they fail we can't control it and prevent it from crashing into anything that might come near it. If it hit anything, there'd be a ton of new space junk which would be a BAD thing. That's why satellites need to be moved to a stable, out of the way orbit (or deorbited) while we still have control of them.


You make it sound as if there are some kind of limits to what we can do in space. I'll have you know that last week someone put 12 carbon atoms together to make a graphene sheet, buster.
 
2011-04-24 07:11:21 PM
As alluded before, Hubble was frequent monologue material for Leno in its early days.

Fastforward to today: Hubble still going strong with Epic Win. Leno, not so much.
 
2011-04-24 07:32:05 PM

BZWingZero: chaoswolf:
So it's only good to go until the gyroscopes wear out and then it's a space garbage? That sucks, but I get your point. I wonder how much would it cost to leave it in orbit as a historical monument.

It wouldn't "cost" anything to leave it in orbit after its gyroscopes fail. Problem is, once they fail we can't control it and prevent it from crashing into anything that might come near it. If it hit anything, there'd be a ton of new space junk which would be a BAD thing. That's why satellites need to be moved to a stable, out of the way orbit (or deorbited) while we still have control of them.


It can't stay up. There's enough atmosphere in low earth orbit for its orbit to decay sometime in the 2020s. Ditto for the ISS without reboost missions.
 
2011-04-24 07:45:51 PM

OtherLittleGuy: As alluded before, Hubble was frequent monologue material for Leno in its early days.

Fastforward to today: Hubble still going strong with Epic Win. Leno, not so much.


Hubble has also contributed far more to society, and indeed humankind itself. So yeah, take that Leno.
 
2011-04-24 08:19:24 PM
Nem Wan 2011-04-24 07:32:05 PM


It can't stay up. There's enough atmosphere in low earth orbit for its orbit to decay sometime in the 2020s. Ditto for the ISS without reboost missions.

Aw sh*t.

:(
 
2011-04-24 11:25:36 PM

The Bad Astronomer: It's possible that in the future we'll be able to get back to Hubble and upgrade it again, but I doubt that'll happen. It's very expensive, and just keeping it running costs a lot (I've heard $100 million a year). That's money that can be spent on newer, more state-of-the-art projects.


State of the art projects such as welfare?
 
2011-04-24 11:25:53 PM
If only all of us could see images like this and realize there is far much more than our own petty desires. That there is a much larger picture and we should all work together to try and at least understand something of it...
 
2011-04-25 12:11:50 AM
I don't need no stinking Hubble. I take my own astro-photos.
farm6.static.flickr.com
M104, aka the Sombrero Galaxy.
 
2011-04-25 07:45:26 AM

ScubaDude1960: I don't need no stinking Hubble. I take my own astro-photos.

M104, aka the Sombrero Galaxy.


That's my favourite galaxy ever. I have a much bigger version of that as my desktop. o' course mine was taken by Hubble... but yours is pretty damned clear for an amateur pic.
 
2011-04-25 07:58:25 AM

The Bad Astronomer: Hubble needs gyroscopes to keep itself pointed at targets. These spin rapidly, and eventually wear out. They get periodically replaced during servicing missions, but those are now officially over due to the end of the Shuttle. Once the gyros wear out, Hubble won't be able to stay pointed at objects any more. :(


Forgive the stupid question, but why don't they use magnetically suspended gyros to eliminate wear?
 
2011-04-25 08:03:09 AM

BZWingZero: chaoswolf:
So it's only good to go until the gyroscopes wear out and then it's a space garbage? That sucks, but I get your point. I wonder how much would it cost to leave it in orbit as a historical monument.

It wouldn't "cost" anything to leave it in orbit after its gyroscopes fail. Problem is, once they fail we can't control it and prevent it from crashing into anything that might come near it. If it hit anything, there'd be a ton of new space junk which would be a BAD thing. That's why satellites need to be moved to a stable, out of the way orbit (or deorbited) while we still have control of them.


Gyros don't change its orbit, just the direction in which it's pointing.
 
2011-04-25 07:19:44 PM
Heh, I like how you can click "Share" and there's a "Fark it" option. I've seen the Facebook share option a billion times but haven't seen that one in the mix before.

/fark it!
//Oh, and the Hubble 'Scope is Absolute Victory, natch
 
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