Sunday, 9 May 2010

Not bad I went easy on you didnt want you researching all night into something just yet.. I might though :P Althought to be fair you didnt answer

Not bad I went easy on you didnt want you researching all night into something just yet.. I might though :P
Althought to be fair you didnt answer about space telescope per say just mentioned briefly about hubble but still I will leave you be for a bit just yet :)
That's the whole comment, I think someone's taking the 'rocket scientist' thing & forgetting to put the 'NOT' in front of it :p! (It's the first one so I have to answer it, after this will someone PLEASE get me off the subject!!).

OK, space telescopes... to clarify, all telescopes are designed to look at space. But what is 'Space'? As early as the 17th century philosophical questions were being asked as to what Space actually was. Some thought it was absolute, it existed whether any matter was in it or not. Others thought it was just the gaps between matter. In the 18th century, scientists began realising that Space could very well be curved too, as opposed to flat obviously. This is the theory that modern scientists use, they'd have to get to the edges of space to prove it, but it fits in better with all modern theories. There are also different levels of 'Space'. Interstellar Space is 15 billion kilometers away but 'Space' (outside Earths ozone layer but still within the suns atmosphere) is only 200,000 kilometers away. Some might argue about that but I figure it should at least be out of the Earths atmosphere & past the ozone layer (90km up + 50km ozone layer approx & you'll just about be in Space).

Right so, the first telescopes appeared in The Netherlands in 1608. they were used for 'seeing faraway things as though nearby'. They were later improved upon by Scientists such as Galileo, he didn't invent it, just took the idea and ran in the right direction with it. 100 years ago, The United States began building giant reflecting telescopes. The 100 inch Mount Wilson Reflector discovered the Universe was expanding. This expansion was named 'Hubbles Law' after the astronomer Edwin Hubble who designed & built the Telescope. This expansion of the Universe proved the 'Big Bang Theory' and gave astronomers a factual way to determine the age of the universe. HUGE groundbreaking stuff that had anyone even remotely interested in Space incredibly excited, as you can imagine! All this happened in 1929.

'How old is the Cosmos?' was the next question that needed to be answered & the Astronomers knew they couldn't answer that using the telescopes they already had. A new one had to be made that could see past the Earths atmosphere. Plans for the Hubble telescope (named after Edwin Hubble who died in 1953) were being talked about as early as the 1950s (Hermann Oberth wrote about orbiting telescopes in the 1920s but technology hadn't got there yet) but production didn't start on it until the 1970s. Hubble was launched on April 20th 1990. It has quite a small mirror (96 inches) compared to the land based telescopes of the time (200+ inches), but because it was designed to orbit, this didn't hinder the amazing images it was able to send back to Earth. The smallest thing Hubble can pinpoint is still too big for it to prove the Moon landings happened in the 1960s, but that would be a waste of time & money anyway. Who would want to look at something just to prove a point, when you could be exploring the whole of the Cosmos!??

A new Space telescope called The Webb (or 'The James Webb Telescope' to give it it's full title) is actually in production at the moment & scheduled for launch in 2014. This telescope will be used mostly in the infra red range of the electromagnetic spectrum (measuring the electromagnetic radiation an object gives off or absorbs to determine the size/shape of it), but will also have a bit of visible range.

This is an endless topic that is pretty fascinating. I've tried to briefly explain what I've learnt, I haven't gone into the mechanics of Hubble or how space telescopes work (there are others but these are mostly observatories & instruments to measure matter. Hubble is one of the largest & is the most well known of all space telescopes) but you can go & look that up yourself lol. All I can say is 'Roll on 2014!'

ok, now will someone please change the bloody subject! The answer to the previous question was....'No!' (You didn't actually ask me to explain about Space telescopes 'per say' :P)

P.S. Herschel Space Observatory just found a baby star! :)


Stray said...

If curiosity killed the cat, what did the cat want to know?