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GDB
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Hubble - 30 Years On

Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:44 pm

30 years after launch, BBC's Horizon broadcast a doc on it's launch, that 1993 repair mission and subsequent upgrades, with contributions from some of the astronauts and scientists involved. Some of the iconic images and how they were assembled, including the very latest images;
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-52106420
 
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Erebus
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Re: Hubble - 30 Years On

Sat Apr 25, 2020 2:57 am

30 years! Amazing machine. I hope they can keep it going for even longer so as to not miss any important astronomical phenomena. Hubble, Chandra, and Spitzer were a formidable trio of space based observatories. Spitzer's gone, but the 6.5 m JWST and the 2.4 m WFIRST will be coming online over the next few years as replacements in the IR band. But both have a mission length of just 5 years, possibly 10.

The next true replacement to Hubble (LUVOIR) that can study in UV, optical and IR is still something like 15 years away. Proposed mirrors for that thing range from 8-16 m (compare with Hubble's 2.4 m mirror). That is going to have to wait for the rockets with bigger payload fairings in any case.
 
texl1649
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Re: Hubble - 30 Years On

Sat Apr 25, 2020 11:55 am

Not really, Erebus, the direct replacement is the James Webb. Still, adaptive optics have sort of eliminated the need for large space based mirrors.

https://www.businessinsider.in/nasa-hub ... 886209.cms

https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/ ... elescopes/
 
mxaxai
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Re: Hubble - 30 Years On

Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:29 pm

texl1649 wrote:
Not really, Erebus, the direct replacement is the James Webb. Still, adaptive optics have sort of eliminated the need for large space based mirrors.

https://www.businessinsider.in/nasa-hub ... 886209.cms

https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/ ... elescopes/

Except that most invisible radiation in blocked by our atmosphere. The only exception are some select IR, UV and radio frequencies. UV, X-ray, gamma-ray and infrared observation has to be done from air- or spaceborne platforms. For the JWST, the main focus is in the IR spectrum; same for WFIRST. Spaceborne astronomy with visible light is nowadays mostly for high-precision measurements, like for exoplanet observation (TESS, PLATO) or astrometry (Gaia, Euclid).
 
Newark727
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Re: Hubble - 30 Years On

Sat Apr 25, 2020 3:04 pm

The beautiful and surreal images that it has been producing all this time have to have inspired the careers of hundreds of scientists and engineers. When I first saw pictures from Hubble I had to have been only seven or eight years old - the very concept of a "space telescope" seemed incredible and wonderful.
 
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Erebus
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Re: Hubble - 30 Years On

Sat Apr 25, 2020 3:49 pm

texl1649 wrote:
Not really, Erebus, the direct replacement is the James Webb. Still, adaptive optics have sort of eliminated the need for large space based mirrors.

https://www.businessinsider.in/nasa-hub ... 886209.cms

https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/ ... elescopes/


As far as direct replacement goes, I'd say it depends on what wavelengths of light the space observatory can see. JWST sees orange to mid-infrared. Hubble sees UV, Optical and Near IR. So JWST has a little bit of overlap at Hubble's longer end and Spitzer's shorter end.

Visible light (human eye): 0.38 - 0.75 micrometres
Hubble: 0.2 - 1.7 micrometres (WFC3)
Spitzer: 3 - 180 micrometres
JWST: 0.6 - 28.5 micrometres

So JWST is not quite a true replacement as it cannot see all what Hubble sees although it will be much better at seeing stuff at the red end, like more distant red-shifted objects, exoplanets, or stuff hidden behind dust.

Ground based telescopes can match or be better than Hubble's resolution only because of the large sizes but still cannot match its wider field of view. Plus, despite the Adaptive Optics, there is still going to be light pollution and weather effects hampering observation runs. Space observatories can make uninterrupted long exposures and not be tied down by weather disruptions. And also, consider the much larger mirror size of the LUVOIR proposals 8-16 m. It would be truly something else, I don't think any of the ground based telescopes being planned can match.
 
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Nomadd
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Re: Hubble - 30 Years On

Sat Apr 25, 2020 4:48 pm

Erebus wrote:
30 years! Amazing machine. I hope they can keep it going for even longer so as to not miss any important astronomical phenomena. Hubble, Chandra, and Spitzer were a formidable trio of space based observatories. Spitzer's gone, but the 6.5 m JWST and the 2.4 m WFIRST will be coming online over the next few years as replacements in the IR band. But both have a mission length of just 5 years, possibly 10.

The next true replacement to Hubble (LUVOIR) that can study in UV, optical and IR is still something like 15 years away. Proposed mirrors for that thing range from 8-16 m (compare with Hubble's 2.4 m mirror). That is going to have to wait for the rockets with bigger payload fairings in any case.

Luvoir B is sized for standard 5 meter fairings. Atlas or FH with the longer fairing they're working on now could launch it.
Right now, I wouldn't bet the farm on SLS Block B ever seeing daylight, so Starship might be the only option for Luvoir A.
JWST will probably last a while. Projected lifespans don't really mean much. It will have one actively cooled instrument that could run out of Helium some day, but the rest are passively cooled.
WFIRST, with it's wide field of view will generate a ludicrous amount of data. You'll be able to spend your whole career making discoveries just analyzing it's output.

But in a hundred years, when you ask just about anybody "What was the greatest telescope ever made?" the answer will be Hubble. There's a reason O'Keefe was almost strung up when he tried to cancel it.
 
GDB
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Re: Hubble - 30 Years On

Sat Apr 25, 2020 5:39 pm

Nomadd wrote:
Erebus wrote:
30 years! Amazing machine. I hope they can keep it going for even longer so as to not miss any important astronomical phenomena. Hubble, Chandra, and Spitzer were a formidable trio of space based observatories. Spitzer's gone, but the 6.5 m JWST and the 2.4 m WFIRST will be coming online over the next few years as replacements in the IR band. But both have a mission length of just 5 years, possibly 10.

The next true replacement to Hubble (LUVOIR) that can study in UV, optical and IR is still something like 15 years away. Proposed mirrors for that thing range from 8-16 m (compare with Hubble's 2.4 m mirror). That is going to have to wait for the rockets with bigger payload fairings in any case.

Luvoir B is sized for standard 5 meter fairings. Atlas or FH with the longer fairing they're working on now could launch it.
Right now, I wouldn't bet the farm on SLS Block B ever seeing daylight, so Starship might be the only option for Luvoir A.
JWST will probably last a while. Projected lifespans don't really mean much. It will have one actively cooled instrument that could run out of Helium some day, but the rest are passively cooled.
WFIRST, with it's wide field of view will generate a ludicrous amount of data. You'll be able to spend your whole career making discoveries just analyzing it's output.

But in a hundred years, when you ask just about anybody "What was the greatest telescope ever made?" the answer will be Hubble. There's a reason O'Keefe was almost strung up when he tried to cancel it.


Your not kidding about that attempt at cancellation, the documentary mentioned even schoolkids wanted to try to help save it.
(Just checked to see if this doc is available to those who cannot watch i-player, not yet but worth checking on later).
O'Keefe was the bean counter's bean counter.
 
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Erebus
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Re: Hubble - 30 Years On

Sun Apr 26, 2020 12:18 am

Nomadd wrote:
JWST will probably last a while. Projected lifespans don't really mean much. It will have one actively cooled instrument that could run out of Helium some day, but the rest are passively cooled.


Besides the helium coolant, JWST's position in space is not completely stable and it needs to expend some propellant now and again to maintain its position.

There's a good chance that mission planners can achieve the full goal of 10 years, but the pessimist in me is worried about unexpected degradation of hardware components, resulting in restricted operations. I was kind of gutted by the loss of Kepler due to the reaction wheel failures despite it reaching its initial planned lifetime of 3.5 years. It was probably the best exoplanet hunter we've ever had and could have done more science if it wasn't for the crippling loss of the wheels.

Hubble too had hardware components degrading over time, but the greatest feature about it was the ability have it serviced up until the last shuttle mission. It couldn't have gotten to its 30th birthday without those upgrades and replacements.

I hope future large space observatories beyond the JWST get provisions to allow servicing by humans or robots.

Nomadd wrote:
But in a hundred years, when you ask just about anybody "What was the greatest telescope ever made?" the answer will be Hubble. There's a reason O'Keefe was almost strung up when he tried to cancel it.


Hubble is, in my opinion, like the Voyager of space observatories. They delivered a lot of breakthrough science, and opened our eyes to so much of the universe for the first time.

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