Hubble Back in Business

September 9, 2009

The New York Times has a report that is good news for fans of the Hubble Space Telescope.  The series of repairs carried out in May of this year apparently was quite successful:

Astronomers on Wednesday unveiled new pictures and observations from the Hubble Space Telescope. With the exception of a picture last month of the bruise on Jupiter caused by a comet, they were the first data obtained with the telescope since a crew spent 13 days in orbit last May replacing, refurbishing and rebuilding its vital components.

The Hubble instrument is widely known for its dazzling images, free of the distortions and loss of resolution that result from the Earth’s atmosphere.  Hubble can also obtain images at infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths that are blocked by the atmosphere.  It is one of NASA’s most successful missions, in terms of the quantity and quality of scientific information it has provided.

The repairs will enable the telescope to continue functioning for a  number of years, and will enable it to accomplish some tasks that surpass the original ambitions of the project:

“This is truly Hubble’s new beginning,” Edward Weiler, the associate administrator for science at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said at a news conference in Washington.

Dr. Weiler noted that the telescope was now in the best shape of its 19-year life in orbit, far surpassing the ambitions of its founders, and that it could last for at least another five years.

The Times article also has an accompanying gallery of images from the refurbished telescope.

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