Home » News » Buzz » Hubble Telescope's Discoveries Through the Years: Expansion of Universe to Birth of Stars
2-MIN READ

Hubble Telescope's Discoveries Through the Years: Expansion of Universe to Birth of Stars

More than 100,000 stars are scattered across this Hubble image. (Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA via Hubble Telescope Twitter)

More than 100,000 stars are scattered across this Hubble image. (Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA via Hubble Telescope Twitter)

Here are some notable astronomical events and objects that Hubble enabled us to see over the years, according to NASA.

The world’s most powerful space telescope blasted off to its outpost 1.5 million kilometres (930,000 miles) from Earth, after several delays caused by technical hitches. The James Webb Space Telescope, some three decades and billions of dollars in the making, left Earth enclosed in its Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou Space Centre in French Guiana. As such, it is widely being considered as the successor to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. However, astronomers aren’t too keen on the comparison. “Comparing Hubble and Webb is like asking if you will love your second child as much as your first,” said Susan Mullally, Webb’s deputy project scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. “Hubble will always be loved for its awe-inspiring images of our universe and will continue to collect important data for astronomers. Webb gives us new and unique eyes of places that we have never been able to reach.”

As per NASA’s website, the Hubble has “taken over a million observations and provided data that astronomers have used to write more than 18,000 peer-reviewed scientific publications”. Here are some notable astronomical events and objects that Hubble enabled us to see over the years, according to the website.

A Runaway Universe

Hubble has enabled scientists to get more precise calculations of the current expansion rate of the universe. It was Hubble’s observations coupled with those from ground-based observatories that led to the Nobel Prize-winning discovery in Physics: the universe is not only expanding but also accelerating. Scientists are of the opinion that the acceleration is due to the “dark energy” pervading the universe.

Growth of Galaxies

Hubble has helped capture the appearance of many galaxies developing through cosmic time. It is responsible for an enormous revelation: an inevitable collision between our Milky Way galaxy and neighbouring Andromeda Galaxy is set to occur 4 billion years from now.

Worlds Beyond Sun

Back in 1990, when Hubble was launched, scientists did not know about the existence of planets outside our solar system. Now, more than 4,000 extrasolar planets are known to exist, most of them discovered through y NASA’s Kepler space observatory and by ground-based telescopes. However, Hubble, too, has played a significant role in this planet hunt.

Dark Matter

Hubble allows scientists to study the distribution of dark matter in space using gravitational lensing.

Birth and Death of Stars

Hubble’s infrared detectors have enable scientists to study the birth of thousands of stars. Hubble’s vision penetrates through gigantic and turbulent nebula where young and exceptionally bright stars burst into life through a violent process emanating ultraviolet radiation and shock fronts. It has also allowed detailed view of stars that have entered their death throes.

Read all the Latest News, Breaking News and Coronavirus News here.

first published:December 26, 2021, 17:02 IST