Today In History: Hubble Telescope Launched

On April 24, 1990, the space shuttle Discovery blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., carrying the $1.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope.

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit on April 24, 1990, aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. It was named after American astronomer Edwin Hubble, who is considered one of the most important observational cosmologists of the 20th century. The Hubble Space Telescope has a 7.9ft aperture in low Earth orbit and can observe near ultraviolet visible and near infrared spectra. The Hubble Space Telescope is excepted to de-orbit sometime between 2014-2021.

Space U.S. Shuttle Discovery Take Off 1990The Space Shuttle orbiter Discovery lifts off from Launch Pad 398 in Kennedy Space Center at morning on Tuesday, April 24, 1990, carrying a crew of five and the Hubble Space Telescope. The mission, STS-31, had been originally scheduled for launch on April 10th but was scrubbed because of a faulty APU. NASA officials and scientist around the world are looking forward to the first glimpse into space by the telescope. (AP Photo/Paul Kizzle)

Bill Clinton, Al GoreU.S. President Bill Clinton, joined by Vice President Al Gore talk by phone from the Oval Office in Washington, Friday, Dec. 10, 1993, with Hubble Mission astronauts to congratulate them for the success in their repairs to the Hubble Space Telescope. The space crews are shown on a television monitor at right, during their two-way long distance phone call. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)

Hubble 20th Anniversary ImageThe NASA Hubble Space Telescope image, which is even more dramatic than fiction, captures the chaotic activity atop a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being assaulted from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks. This turbulent cosmic pinnacle lies within a tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. The image celebrates the 20th anniversary of Hubble’s launch and deployment into an orbit around Earth. Hubble was launched April 24, 1990. (AP Photo/NASA)

Cassiopeia AAn image provided by NASA is a false-color picture showing the many sides of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. It is made up of images taken by three of NASA’s Great Observatories, using three different wavebands of light. Infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope are colored red; visible data from the Hubble Space Telescope are yellow; and X-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory are green and blue. Astronomers have unearthed secrets from the grave of the star that blasted apart in a supernova explosion long ago. The discovery, represents the first time astronomers have been able to resurrect the life history of a supernova remnant in our own galaxy. Cassiopeia A is the burnt-out corpse of a massive star that ended its life in a fiery supernova about 11,300 years ago. Because it is 11,000 light-years from Earth, the light from its explosion would have reached Earth, sweeping right past it, about 300 years ago. (AP Photo/HO/NASA)

HUBBLE SATURNThis image of Saturn is a view from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope on Monday, March 22, 2004. Camera exposures in four filters were combined to form the Hubble image and render colors similar to what the eye would see through a telescope focused on Saturn. The magnificent rings, at nearly their maximum tilt toward Earth, show subtle hues which indicate the trace chemical differences in their icy composition. (AP Photo/ NASA/ESA/Erich Karkoschka, University of Arizona)

ElmoElmo makes an appearance in front of a model of the Hubble telescope, during an announcement about a new planetarium show for four to six year olds at the National Air and Space Museum, in Washington, on Tuesday, April 21, 2009. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

HUBBLEResembling a nightmarish beast rearing its head from a crimson sea, this monstrous object is actually an innocuous pillar of gas and dust. Called the Cone Nebula (NGC 2264) because in ground-based images it has a conical shape, this giant pillar resides in a turbulent star-forming region. This picture, taken April 2, 2002, by the newly installed Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, shows the upper 2.5 light-years of the nebula, a height that equals 23 million roundtrips to the Moon. The entire nebula is 7 light-years long. The Cone Nebula resides 2,500 light-years away in the constellation Monoceros. (AP Photo/NASA)

HUBBLE TOLMANDr. Edwin Hubble, space exploring astronomer, is shown with Dr. Richard Chase Tolman, right, a noted mathematician, a model of the proposed 200-inch telescope for California. It was Hubble’s observations and Tolman’s calculations, that made Alfred Einstein change his mind about the Universe. Telescope mode was displayed at the Summer session of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at Pasadena. (AP photo)

Shuttle HubbleThis image provided by NASA shows a high oblique scene looking toward the Red Sea, Sinai Peninsula and the Mediterranean Sea. Saudi Arabia is in the foreground and Egypt’s Nile River and its delta can be seen (left) toward the horizon. Israel and Jordan can be seen near the top edge of the frame. The Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba (near frame center) extend from the Red Sea, bottom, toward the Mediterranean Sea. The image is among the first group of still images downlinked Tuesday May 12, 2009 by the crew members onboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis enroute to the Hubble Space Telescope. (AP Photo/NASA)



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Lead Photo Caption: This undated photo supplied by NASA and the European Space Agency shows the Hubble Space Telescope’s latest image of the star V838 Monocerotis, located about 20,000 light-years away on the outer edge of the Milky Way, which reveals dramatic changes in the illumination of surrounding dusty cloud structures. The effect, called a light echo, has been unveiling never-before-seen dust patterns ever since the star suddenly brightened for several weeks in early 2002. The illumination of interstellar dust comes from the red supergiant star at the middle of the image, which gave off a pulse of light three years ago, somewhat similar to setting off a flashbulb in a darkened room. The dust surrounding V838 may have been ejected from the star during a previous explosion, similar to the 2002 event. The echoing of light through space is similar to the echoing of sound through air. As light from the stellar explosion continues to propagate outwards, different parts of the surrounding dust are illuminated, just as a sound echo bounces off of objects near the source, and later, objects further from the source. Eventually, when light from the back side of the nebula begins to arrive, the light echo will give the illusion of contracting, and finally it will disappear. (AP Photo/NASA-ESA Hubble Team)


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