Hubble’s Contribution To Modern Astronomy



Two of the most recognizable symbols of science are the telescope and the microscope.   Everyone, whether interested in astronomy or not, has heard of the Hubble Space Telescope, but how many of us really know the significance of its contribution to science, astronomy in particular?  Here are some facts about the Hubble Telescope that could light a spark in your imagination, and create an interest in discovering more about the stars.

The Hubble has dazzled us for nearly two decades with its astonishing images and exciting discoveries.  The giant observatory, physically located on a spacecraft,  has taken nearly 750,000 images over 17 years of operation in space.  Originally launched into space on April 25, 1990, it’s been used by a large number of astronomers to explore the deepest reaches of the universe, as it orbits around the earth at the unimaginable speed of 5 miles per second.

The Space Telescope Science Institute has been charged with processing all of Hubble’s images.  The Hubble was the first, and remains the flagship of, NASA’s Great Observatories program.  It’s an asset to the entire nation, however there have been some issues.  In June of the year it was launched, scientists identified an issue with Hubble’s primary mirror.  The problem was quickly resolved, however other problems have surfaced throughout Hubble’s life.

Still, the Hubble Space Telescope, which first opened our eyes and imaginations to an awe-inspiring cosmos of colliding galaxies and star births, remains a valuable asset to astronomy even 20 years later.  It remains so valuable that NASA continues to send missions to conduct upgrades and repairs on the telescope to this day, and future improvements are already being planned.

Despite the fact that the Hubble Space Telescope has not ceased to operate since 1990 and appears to be going strong, plans are being made to replace it.  So many astronomers and amateurs have benefited from the Hubble, and more discoveries will continue to be made.  Yet, all good things do eventually come to an end, and such will be the case with the Hubble.  It’s not something that should upset you though, as something better is on the way.

Even though owning a space telescope like the Hubble is beyond the reach of most people, you can explore the stars from your own backyard with the purchase of an amateur telescope.  When exploring your options, remember that aperture (light gathering capacity), quality, and accuracy of the optics are the most important attributes of a telescope, while portability and cost are its most important design criteria. Whether you ultimately choose to buy a reflecting or a refracting telescope, the most popular types, you’re sure to spend countless hours exploring the night sky.



All About Astronomy



People have shown interest in the stars for a very long time. That enduring passion is one of the many reasons that astronomy has maintained its popularity for such a long time. Many interests come and go, but people have been fascinated by astronomy for centuries.

Astronomy is about more than looking at the stars. This field actually involves the study of all kinds of celestial objects. Stars are studies, but comets, planets, and even galaxies are studied as well. Astronomy also looks at phenomena that occur outside of our planet’s atmosphere. Examples of this include cosmic background radiation and auroras.

Astronomy is directly related to many other fields of science. Evolution, chemistry, and physics are all related to astronomy. Scientists must look at various types of science in order to learn more about celestial objects and the universe that surrounds them. Astronomy is also used by a number of scientists in other fields. For example, a physicist may use astronomy when testing a fundamental theory. Astronomy and Astrophysics go hand in hand.

Astronomy isn’t something that is new or trendy; it’s actually one of the oldest branches of science. We can trace astronomers all the way back to ancient India and Greece. This has helped to give us the advanced observation techniques that we rely on today. Developments in astronomy haven’t just been made by experts. Amateurs have made a number of important contributions as well.

When the 20th century began, astronomy was split into two different fields. The two fields are theoretical astrophysics and observational astronomy. Theoretical physics relies primarily on data gathered through analytical models or computers. Observational data is based around gathering data and maintaining instruments that are capable of collecting that data. This field is also known as astrometry.

It’s common for people to mix up modern astronomy and astrology. However, the two subjects couldn’t be more different. Astrology isn’t science; it’s a belief system. It states that the positioning of celestial objects can impact our day-to-day lives. It’s essentially a form of fortune telling. While both fields look at the stars, only astronomy is founded in science. The two subjects are not related in any significant way.



A Rudimentary Guide to Refractive Telescopes



Perhaps the oldest type of telescope is the refracting telescope that has been in use since the early 15th century. The design was good and has been improved upon since then but essentially a refracting telescope is still a refracting telescope.

The refractor has a set of convex lenses that allow the images presented to the viewer to take on a larger shape and be bigger and brighter to the perspective of the viewer. This makes them especially useful for viewing the stars, planets and other celestial bodies.

The telescopes are made up of a series of convex lenses that feed an image through an eyepiece lens much like you would find in a set of binoculars. These harness the principles of refraction to bend light and better view distant objects. This has allowed for many great observations of the night sky. While their design amy seem complex, the idea is fairly simplistic and just requires a few properly shaped lenses.

There are also various versions of the refracting telescope that have been invented and popularized for different reasons. The Galilean telescope is named after the famous scientist whose insights into the universe challenged the “truths” of his time. This was one of the first refracting telescopes in history. The Keplerian refractor was also named after another noteworthy man of science which changed the Galilean concave eyepiece to a convex eyepiece.

The various designs and styles would be changed and improved much over the next few centuries. The achromatic refractor would be introduced in the mid-16th century with the more impressive apochromatic refractors being invented years after.

Pros and Cons of Refractor Telescopes
As the technology that supports the refractor telescope continues to evolve, there have been many advancements made in the telescope. While the technology continues to advance, the issue of size has become a problem. The fact is after a certain size, the telescope will have a greater chance of defects in the construction that retard the function and performance.

While we are not sure how the refracting telescope will advance from here, we do know that many of the world’s greatest achievements were visualized through a refracting eyepiece. This type of telescope has been in use for centuries and will continue to do so as the years continue.

No matter which type of telescope you choose to use, you are sure to have a unique view of your neighborhood and the universe. Never forget the importance of the famed refractor and how much our word has benefitted from the brilliant design.