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April 20-26, 2015 / Vol 34, No 16 / Hawai`i Island, USA

17 Apr 2015, 20:36 UTC
April 20-26, 2015 / Vol 34, No 16 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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Hubble Space Telescope Starts 26th Year of Cutting Edge Exploration
Currently generating about 844 gigabytes of data per month, totaling more than 100 terabytes of information used in over 11,000 scientific papers to date, Hubble is one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built. Funding of the joint NASA-ESA project is expected to continue at least until the succeeding James Webb Space Telescope becomes operational NET 2018. Regardless of instrument health and funding, final orbital decay is expected 2030-2040, depending on solar activity and resulting fluctuations of atmospheric drag. The observatory maintains a circular orbit of about 560km altitude and has pointing accuracy sufficient to hold a target to less than 7/1,000th of an arc second deviation while the spacecraft is moving at 7,160 meters per second. Over 38,000 celestial objects have been imaged, revealing new aspects of subjects as profound as the age of the Universe and as mysterious as dark energy and black holes. Events commemorating the 25th Anniversary of Hubble, deployed by STS-31 Discovery and astronomer astronaut Steven Hawley of the Ad Astra State of Kansas on April 25, 1990, bring into focus the transformative power of astronomy to enhance human understanding and imagination. NASA Administrator ...

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