From The Basics To The Hubble Telescope

From The Basics To The Hubble Telescope

Telescopes act as windows to the universe. It is with the help of telescopes that we can study the solar system and view the conjunctions of stars. Not just that, the various planets, galaxies, satellites and asteroids that we get to see only in the books and magazines are made more familiar to us via the telescopes. They act as barrier- breaking instruments between the human beings and the outer space. The universe is no more a mystery to us that exists beyond our reach and we owe it all to the telescopes.

The modern day telescopes bring with them a wide array of accessories and it is with the aid of these accessories that it becomes much more easier to successfully put the telescopes into proper use. Let us see what are the important accessories that go well and are a “must-have” for most telescope users: –

Filters- These are very essential for telescope users because they reduce the glare on the eyepiece and scatter the light thereby making it less strenuous for us to view distant objects.

Eyepiece- this is a very important piece of equipment and its absence can render a telescope useless. Eyepieces come in a variety of sizes and if you add more than one eyepiece to your telescopes then you can have the pleasure of viewing even the tiniest and distant objects with clarity.

Mounts- Mounts are the stands for telescopes. It is a mount on which the telescope rests. Since a telescope wont function favorably in vibrations therefore you should ensure that it is placed on a stable mount.

Barlow lens- A Barlow lens helps in the magnification of telescopes. These lenses are available in different sizes and we must be careful in choosing the size that best fits the eyepiece.

There are two main types of telescopes, the refractor (Galileo) telescopes and the reflector (Newton) telescopes. The refractor telescope uses an objective lens that bends the light towards the eyepiece. While the reflector telescope uses a mirror, which collects the light and then directs it towards the eyepiece.

Though both the refractors as well as the reflector telescopes are easily available in the market we should take the following points into consideration before buying a telescope.

Do not get impressed by the magnification of the telescopes. This is because magnification alone is of no use if it just produces large but hazy images.

Aperture- This is the most important factor while deciding on a telescope. Aperture is the opening that collects light so its important to choose a telescope with a larger aperture that will ensure a clearer and a more detailed image quality.

Resolution- This enables the telescopes to produce a more detailed image. So always opt for a telescope, which has a higher resolution. Moreover since resolution is also determined by the aperture, therefore the larger the aperture the better the resolution.

Focal length- The distance between the optical center of the lens or the mirror and the optical center of the eyepiece is known as the focal length. The focal length is what determines the magnification in telescopes. Larger focal lengths imply more magnification.



If we are careful about remembering the above points then it wont take us long to choose a telescope the next time we want to buy one for ourselves.

From The Basics To The Hubble Telescope

One of the most important telescopes in the history of astronomy, the Hubble telescope has allowed observers to peer farther into space than any previous telescope. By moving outside and above the atmosphere of the earth, the Hubble telescope has been able to observe visual data much more clearly than a terrestrial telescope, and it has been able to see much farther into the ultraviolet and infrared spectrums as well, since these spectra are largely absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere. Thus, by moving the observing platform into open space, the Hubble telescope has given a much clearer view of the universe, allowing scientists to peer even deeper into space.

The Hubble telescope is named for Edwin Hubble, the astronomer who originally determined that the universe is expanding. This discovery, one of the foundations of modern astronomy and cosmology, made Hubble an excellent choice for the honor of having this telescope named for him.

The concept for the Hubble telescope was originally the idea of Lyman Spitzer back in 1946. He clearly saw that earth-based telescopes were inherently limited in their ability to see into the heavens, since dust, clouds, and even turbulence in the atmosphere interfered with telescopes’ clarity. Which meant that the best way to get a clear image from a telescope was with a telescope that was in orbit around the earth.

After some success with the smaller Orbiting Astronomical Observatory, the plan for a large scale telescope was born. There were some fits and starts however, mostly due to budget constraints, and the project did not really take off until the 1970’s and funding was not approved until 1978. Then, with funding in place, plans were made to launch the Hubble telescope in 1983. However, due to various delays, it was not actually launched until 1990.

After a few early problems, the Hubble telescope finally started sending back clear images. And those images were well worth the effort. The Hubble telescope was able to achieve a sharpness and resolution that was unimaginable with a standard, earth-bound telescope; crisp images that not only showed new detail in known areas of space, but also peered deeper into space than ever before. And with these new images, astronomers have been able to discover new and exciting information about our universe.

However, it is not only astronomers who have been amazed at the images that the Hubble telescope has produced. In fact, the images from Hubble are delights to view all on their own. From the clearly defined galaxies, to pictures of nebulae, to the Apollo 15 landing site, Hubble has been as exciting for the public as it has been for scientists.

As the Hubble telescope ages, its future is uncertain. Corrective software has allowed earth-based telescopes to pick up much of the information previously possible only with a space-based telescope. And as NASA retools itself to follow its mandate to take a man to Mars, money that would be spent on maintenance of the Hubble is being spent elsewhere. However, before the Hubble telescope enters the atmosphere sometime in its late life, it will provide a remarkable window into the universe and all that is in it.