Hubble Space Telescope Covers 15,000 Galaxies in a Single Shot

Hubble Space Telescope Covers 15,000 Galaxies in a Single Shot

Credit: NASA

Two recently-launched images, taken as part of the Hubble Deep UV Legacy Survey, might change your entire perception of the universe.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is one of the largest and most versatile telescopes that has ever hit the space. It was named after Edwin Hubble, an American Astronomer who was one of the pioneers of the fields of Observational Cosmology and Extragalactic Astronomy. A collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) resulted in this revolutionary telescope which is controlled by the Goddard Space Flight Center. The duties of selecting Hubble’s targets and processing the resulting data are assigned to the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI).

HST is the only telescope that can be serviced in space by the astronauts. It has been in space for more than 28 years now and has undergone servicing for 5 times. The Space Shuttle Missions have repaired, replaced, and upgraded all the systems of the telescope including all the main instruments. The launch of the last of these servicing missions was originally canceled following the Columbia Disaster in 2003. However, Mike Griffin, an Administrator of NASA, approved the 5th servicing mission after a spirited public discussion. It was completed in 2009 and HST has been on its own since then. If the estimates of the scientists hold true, it will continue operating until 2030-2040. Having said that, the launch of its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), is scheduled in March 2021.

Hubble is designed in a way that it can observe celestial objects in the Infrared, Ultraviolet, and Visible light. In order to capture high-resolution images, HST orbits outside the Earth’s atmosphere to avoid any kind of distortion. It also provides lesser background light in comparison to the ground-based telescopes. Quite a lot of observations, made by Hubble, have led to some amazing discoveries including the Expansion Rate of the Universe. Despite that, the space telescope is still learning a few new tricks as noticed by the researchers recently. Hubble took a pair of extraordinary images as part of the Hubble Deep UV Legacy Survey, whose primary purpose is to identify the ultraviolet imaging capabilities of the telescope.

According to a couple of images revealed by the monitoring team, HST squeezed a total of 15,000 galaxies in a single picture. This has happened for the first time since its launch in 1990. The fact that the Hubble can work with the Ultraviolet light played an important role in this task. The magnetic field in the Earth’s atmosphere makes it difficult for a ground-based telescope to capture these wavelengths and this is where a telescope like Hubble can be extremely handy. Its collaboration with other telescopes on the ground was also crucial. The members of the researching team are confident that the telescope can build the most detailed picture of the universe by making use of this data.

These images took scientists back to the Peak Star-forming Period of our universe by offering faint galaxies alongside the brighter ones. According to the researching team, these images could help the physicists to understand the aging of the galaxies as the ultraviolet light takes them back through time. According to the claims of the researchers associated with these pictures, scientists can study 12,000 different galaxies over a period of 11 billion years by combining the ultraviolet data with other wavelengths. You can get a glimpse at their findings in the following video:

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