Space

April 23, 2014

NASA Hubble instruments highlight new National Air and Space Museum exhibit

Two instruments that played critical roles in discoveries made by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope now are on display in an exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

“Repairing Hubble” recognizes the 24th anniversary of Hubble’s launch into space aboard space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990. The exhibit features Hubble’s Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement instrument and the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2.

Soon after Hubble began sending back images in 1990, scientists discovered the telescope’s primary mirror had a flaw called spherical aberration. The outer edge of the mirror was ground too flat by a depth of 4 microns, which is roughly equal to one-fiftieth the thickness of a human hair. The flaw resulted in images that were fuzzy because some of the light from the objects being studied was being scattered. After the amount of aberration was understood, scientists and engineers developed WFPC2 and COSTAR, which were installed in Hubble during the first space shuttle servicing mission in 1993.

COSTAR deployed corrective optics in front of three of Hubble’s first generation instruments ñ the Faint Object Camera, the Goddard High Resolution Spectrometer, and the Faint Object Spectrograph. COSTAR could not correct the vision for the Wide Field/Planetary Camera currently on Hubble. So, a replacement instrument, which was already in work as an upgrade, was hastened to completion as WFPC2.† WFPC and WFPC2 were built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

WFPC2 was separately fitted with corrective optics to compensate for the scattered light from the primary mirror. This allowed the camera to record razor-sharp images of celestial objects ñ from nearby planets to remote galaxies – for more than 15 years. A landmark observation was the Hubble Deep Field taken in 1995. This long-exposure captured the light of 4,000 galaxies stretching 12 billion years back into time.

WFPC2 was one of Hubble’s main cameras until the Advanced Camera for Surveys was installed in 2002. WFPC2’s 48 filters allowed scientists to study precise wavelengths of light and to sense a range of wavelengths from ultraviolet to near-infrared light.

COSTAR and WFPC2 were removed from Hubble in 2009 during the fifth and final shuttle servicing mission and returned to Earth. COSTAR’s removal made way for the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph. WFPC2 was replaced by Wide Field Camera 3.

Development of the National Air and Space Museum exhibit was supported by NASA, including the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. The exhibit was designed and constructed by museum staff.

A reception at the National Air and Space Museum Wednesday featured presentations by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who was the pilot for Discovery during the Hubble deployment mission in 1990; Gen. J.R. “Jack” Dailey, museum director; John Grunsfeld, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate associate administrator and astronaut on several shuttle Hubble servicing missions; and John Trauger, former WFPC2 principal investigator at JPL. The presentations will air on NASA Television.

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

For more information about the new Hubble exhibit and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, visit http://airandspace.si.edu/.

For more information about the WFPC2, visit http://go.nasa.gov/1kyiuSL.

For more information about NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, visit http://www.nasa.gov/hubble or http://hubblesite.org/.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines January 23, 2015

News: Two Marines identified in deadly California helo crash - Two Marine Corps officers killed when their helicopter crashed during a training exercise in the Southern California desert were remembered Jan. 25 as talented pilots. Greek F-16 crashes in Spain during NATO exercise - Ten people died Jan. 26 after a Greek air force F-16 jet crashed...
 
 

News Briefs January 26, 2015

Navy wants to increase use of sonar-emitting buoys The U.S. Navy is seeking permits to expand sonar and other training exercises off the Pacific Coast, a proposal raising concerns from animal advocates who say that more sonar-emitting buoys would harm whales. The Navy now wants to deploy up to 720 sonobuoys about 12 miles off...
 
 
Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards

ANG conducts air refueling training with NATO allies in Germany

Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards A NATO E-3A AWACS aircraft approaches a Utah Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker for air refueling during a training flight over Germany on Jan. 13, 2015. Nearly 30 airme...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales

Ramstein Airmen train with French air force

Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales Two U.S. Air Force pilots and a French air force navigator discuss the route to the drop zone during a simulated low-level drop Jan. 21, 2015, at Orleans – Bricy Air...
 
 

Marines receive first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant

The first F-35C Lightning II, carrier variant, for the U.S. Marine Corps touched-down on the flight line at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 13, from the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth, Texas, to begin training in support of carrier-based operations. U.S. Marine Lt. Col. J.T. Ryan, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 501 detachment commander...
 
 

VA announces single regional framework under MyVA initiative

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Jan. 26 that it is taking the first steps under the MyVA initiative to realign its many organizational maps into one map with five regions to better serve Veterans. The new regions under the MyVA alignment will allow VA to begin the process of integrating disparate organizational boundaries into...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>