Saturday, July 13, 2024

Hubble still delivers as the James Webb Telescope captured early images of the universe


  • Since its launch in 1990, it has become Hubble Space Telescope He made revolutionary achievements in astronomy.
  • the new JaWeb Space Telescope It’s very popular, but Hubble has skills, like capturing visible and ultraviolet light, that Webb doesn’t.
  • The two telescopes will collaborate to study the universe in greater detail.

For three decades, it has been Hubble Space Telescope It offered stunning cosmic views.

While the world cheers about the new NASA James Webb Space Telescopethe aging Hubble remains the astronomical backbone, providing important observations of the universe, while Webb absorbs light.

But as a pair, telescopes are more powerful than they are alone. Together, space telescopes will provide astronomers with a fuller view and understanding of galaxies, stars and planets than ever before.

“The Webb Space Telescope is good news for astronomy, and good news for the Hubble Space Telescope as well, as Webb and Hubble enhance and complement each other’s unique capabilities,” Jennifer Wiseman, chief Hubble Space Telescope project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said inside.

“Hubble’s scientific comeback is expected to be strong, and even strengthen, during this decade as Webb and Hubble unveil the universe together.”

Hubble from Discovery was published in 1990.

Hubble from Discovery was published in 1990.


Where Galileo Galilei Constructed his telescope in 1609, astronomers turned these instruments to the sky. Astronomers have greatly improved these instruments over time, allowing them to delve deeper into the universe.

But their observations were restricted by Earth’s atmosphere, which absorbs light before it reaches ground-based telescopes. Enter the space telescopes. By sitting high above the distortion of Earth’s atmosphere and far from light-polluted cities, observatories like Hubble, such as NASA puts it“An unobstructed view of the universe.”

Hubble launched the space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990. Although it was only originally scheduled 15 years of servicestill blasts through space about 340 miles above Earth’s surface, orbiting the planet every 97 minutes.

“Hubble is in good technical condition, even 32 years after its launch, with a robust suite of scientific instruments on board,” Wiseman said.


Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995.

NASA, Jeff Hester and Paul Squeen (Arizona State University)

Over the years, Hubble images have played an important role in our understanding of the universe. Evidence was provided to supermassive black holes At the centers of galaxies and measure the expansion rate of the universe. Hubble also helped discover and distinguish the mystery dark energy He caused this expansion by pulling galaxies away. Among his most famous achievements is the image of the Pillars of Creation, taken in 1995, which shows newly formed stars glowing in the Eagle Nebula.

And Hubble is still taking amazing pictures, even after Webb began handing over images from his science observations in July. Recently, Hubble took a picture of Star-studded NGC 6540a spherical mass in the constellation Sagittarius.

Globular cluster NGC 6540 in the constellation Sagittarius, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Globular cluster NGC 6540 in the constellation Sagittarius, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.

ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Cohen

Webb and Hubble are space telescopes, but they differ in many ways. Hubble sees ultraviolet light, visible light, and a tiny slice of infrared, while Webb will look primarily at the universe in infrared.

web – which is 100 times more powerful than Hubble – will be able to look at objects whose light was emitted more than 13.5 billion years ago, which Hubble cannot see. This is because this light has been converted into infrared wavelengths that Webb specifically designed to detect.

But because Webb was designed this way, it would also miss celestial bodies in visible and ultraviolet light that Hubble could see.

“In fact, Hubble is the only stratified observatory that can access ultraviolet wavelengths,” Wiseman said.

A collage showing images from the Hubble Space Telescopes and James Webb side by side

A deep field image from the Hubble Space Telescope, left, and a deep field image from the James Webb Space Telescope, right.


While Webb has been referred to as Hubble’s successor, the two space observatories will collaborate to uncover the universe together.

Wiseman points out how they will provide insights into how stars are born within cosmic dust clouds and spread across most galaxies. “Hubble, for example, can detect and analyze in detail the hot blue light and blazing ultraviolet light from star-forming nebulae in nearby galaxies,” Wiseman said, adding, “This can be compared to the strength of star formation in the early universe. It was detected using Webb.”

The two space telescopes will also gather their gazes to peer into Atmosphere of other worldslooking for signs that it might harbor life.

Astronomers typically look for the ingredients that sustain terrestrial life—liquid water, a continuous source of energy, carbon, and other elements—when searching for life-supporting planets. In 2001, Hubble made First direct measurement The atmosphere of an exoplanet.

“In our galaxy, understanding of planets inside and outside our solar system will be greatly enhanced by the Webb and Hubble cluster,” Wiseman said, adding, “Fingerprints of water, methane, and other components of the atmosphere will be determined using the combination of Webb and Hubble’s spectroscopic capabilities.”

Artist's impression of a planet orbiting a yellow sun-like star called HD 209458 - the first direct detection of the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a star outside our solar system.

In 2001, Hubble made the first direct detection of a world’s atmosphere orbiting a star outside our solar system. Artist’s impression of the planet orbiting a star called HD 209458.

G. Bacon (STScI/AVL)

And although Webb is seen as the shining new game in astronomy, Hubble’s Unique Capabilities In capturing visible and ultraviolet light it still makes it a required tool for understanding the universe. “Hubble is actually at its peak scientific performance right now,” Wiseman said. She added that this is thanks to a team of NASA technical experts on the ground who monitor and quickly deal with any technical challenges that arise.

“The number of proposals from scientists around the world who would like to use Hubble has grown to more than 1,000 per year, with only the top of them chosen for actual observations,” Wiseman said, adding, “Many of these are suggested supplemental observations from Webb.”

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Rosario Tejeda
Rosario Tejeda
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