Cosmic Journeys: The Age of Hubble
An army of high-tech telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, is peering into every corner of the universe. They are gathering huge volumes of data that offer explanation to many of the questions that have baffled scientists for years. Questions such as how did galaxies take shape, how do stars live and die, and how did life begin.
There is a certain clarity and a brilliance to space that doesn’t exits on Earth. Nowhere else can you realize so fully how majestic our Earth is and how it’s only one of untold thousands of planets. The universe invites us to explore and to wonder how all of this came about and how we fit into it. Are there other worlds like our own that are full of life? Questions such as these are being raised anew by bold advances in astronomy.
The Hubble space telescope was launched in 1990 to capture the pristine light of distant space. It led a fleet of telescopes that were sent up to explore distant galaxies. Satellites capture light that is blocked or distorted by earth’s atmosphere from long waved infrared lights that pass through dust forms revealing hidden structures in galaxies and star-forming regions to high-energy X-rays from supernova explosions. By the time the light reaches us it has traveled millions or even billions of years and it carries valuable details about how the universe came to be what it is.
Sending telescopes into space was part of a larger technological revolution, which consisted of a large array of powerful telescopes that were built on mountaintops around the world. Countries such as Chile are host to these high-tech instruments. These telescopes are almost flawless and they are packed with sophisticated optics and topnotch computer programs that are designed to cancel out distortions and simulate important events using the laws of physics.