Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was one of the most important exploration tools of the past two decades, and will continue to serve as a great resource well into the new millennium. The HST found numerous objects while photographing nebulae, galaxies, stars and other distant objects.

The Hubble was first launched in 1990 from Space Shuttle Discovery, but the project began many years before. The design and construction started in the 1970's, and some say scientists dreamed up the idea even before that. The project is a joint one between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

The observatory and its many instruments orbit the Earth at approximately 600 km above the surface. The instruments include cameras that take pictures of distant objects and spectrographs that analyze incoming light. Between 1993 and 2009, NASA sent five Space Shuttle missions to the Hubble to repair it and install new scientific instruments. The Hubble is expected to continue operating through 2015-2020.

The Hubble was only the first four "Great Observatories" launched by NASA. Although Hubble's instruments make observations in ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared wavelengths, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope (infrared) study our universe by observing more of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Below is a short list of the many discoveries involving the HST. There are many more news pieces about the Hubble in Headline Universe.

Last modified May 19, 2009 by Dennis Ward.

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more


During the early 1900's, which is not very long ago, astronomers were unaware that there were other galaxies outside our own Milky Way Galaxy. When they saw a small fuzzy patch in the sky through their...more

Impact on Jupiter - July 2009

Anthony Wesley is an amateur astronomer in Australia. On the night of July 19, 2009, Wesley noticed a dark spot on Jupiter that hadn't been there before. He had discovered the remains of a huge impact...more

Spiraling into A Black Hole

Everyone is awed by black holes. How could there be a thing that just devours all light and matter around that matter can never escape?!? Scientists using observations from the Chandra X-ray Observatory...more

Hubble Detects the First Extrasolar Planetary Atmosphere!

You probably know there are nine planets in our own solar system...but did you know that we know of 76 planets that are outside our own solar system? These planets orbit other stars and are called extrasolar...more

Hubble is Going Strong After 10 Years

April 24, 1990, marked the beginning of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). This powerful observatory has been the world's eyes in space, peering into the deepest parts of the Universe. NASA and the scientific...more

The Amazing, Vanishing Linear!

Comet Linear was discovered on September, 27 1999. Linear has been a really interesting comet! First, Linear put on a great show for the Hubble Space Telescope. The Hubble was tracking the comet for just...more

Missions Possible!

The servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope in early March was a great success. The Telescope has been declared healthy and fit...and is better than ever! Though instruments will be tested for...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA