400 years ago, the Italian scientist Galileo opened a whole
new world when he pointed the newly invented telescope toward
the heavens. His crude telescope detected pockmarks on the
moon and satellites around Jupiter, proving that the Earth
wasn't the only special place in the cosmos. Galileo's discoveries
revolutionized our view of our place in the universe.
The launch and deployment of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope,
likewise, has changed our understanding of the heavens. From
capturing the nearby, violent death of a massive star to staring
far back in time to see embryonic galaxies, Hubble's many
awe-inspiring moments have brought the beauty and mystery
of space to homes all over the world.
Earth-orbiting observatory collects and analyzes light from
visible to near infrared, seeing more sharply than any previous
telescope. The telescope has a much clearer view of the heavens
because of its unique position above Earth's roily atmosphere,
which distorts starlight, making it dance and wiggle. Its
razor-sharp vision of celestial objects has turned the "hints
and suspicions" of terrestrial observations into certainties,
forcing theorists to rewrite broad-brush theories.
By observing 14,000 astronomical targets, Hubble has contributed
significantly to astronomical research, from our solar system
to the most distant galaxies.