Hubble Telescope | How It Was Fixed

Most of the major news sources are reporting that today April 24 is the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. Those stories are plentiful and easy to find. Many of the stories emphasize the amazing images and greater understanding that has come from Hubble.

Some of the stories also describe the tremendous disappointment of scientists when the first images were released. They were out of focus and could not be adjusted without a repair mission. The mirror was made with a slightly wrong curvature. Something called spherical aberration.

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory released this video about the repairs that had to be made in order for Hubble to perform at its best. In principle, the astronauts on a Shuttle mission installed a new camera instrument that added corrective glasses to the light path. It is a common fix for our own vision. It fixed Hubble, too.

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9 thoughts on “Hubble Telescope | How It Was Fixed

  1. Ding! Ding! Ding! I think the Hubble telescope just helped me understand a bit more about my eyes. It was that spherical abberation bit that did it.

    My eye surgery was postponed because testing showed that my eye still was reshaping itself as a consequence of getting out of my contact lenses. It seems that hard contact lenses flatten the eye, creating a kind of spherical abberation!. The eye may or may not return to its natural shape (in my case, it probably won’t) but there need to be sequential readings which show the change has stopped.

    The last time I was in, the technician took time to show me the images, and to point out that what was out of whack. This, and the page I linked to the various kinds of aberrations, helped to make sense of it all — just by giving me “spherical abberation” as a seach term. 🙂

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    • And there were 4 or 5 repair and upgrade missions. Technically challenging.

      I listened to a show this morning on a Canadian Broadcasting program called Quirks and Quarks. http://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcasts/science-and-tech/quirks-quarks—segments/

      The segment I listened to was about bees and the pesticides that seem to be harming them. First on this list. I found it quite interesting. I remembered a comment you made not too long ago and thought you would appreciate the segment, too.

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      • Thank you for forwarding that to me, Jim. It was interesting. I have been hearing about pollinators being affected by the neonics, but wasn’t sure I understood how. Essentially it is like teenagers huffing, isn’t it? Makes them feel great until it kills them. What a scary world we humans insist on creating.

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