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How Hubble Observations Are Scheduled

23 Jun 2014, 12:00 UTC
How Hubble Observations Are Scheduled
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This is the third in a three-part series. After observing time is awarded, the Institute creates a long-range plan. This plan ensures that the diverse collection of observations are scheduled as efficiently as possible. This task is complicated because the telescope cannot be pointed too close to bright objects like the Sun, the Moon, and […]

This is the third in a three-part series.
After observing time is awarded, the Institute creates a long-range plan. This plan ensures that the diverse collection of observations are scheduled as efficiently as possible. This task is complicated because the telescope cannot be pointed too close to bright objects like the Sun, the Moon, and the sunlit side of Earth. Adding to the difficulty, most astronomical targets can only be seen during certain months of the year; some instruments cannot operate in the high space-radiation areas of Hubble ’s orbit; and the instruments regularly need to be calibrated. These diverse constraints on observations make telescope scheduling a complex optimization problem that Institute staff are continually solving, revising, and improving.”
Preparing for an observation also involves selecting guide stars to stabilize.the telescope’s pointing and center the target in the instrument’s field of view. The selection ...

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