April 24

The Hubble Space Telescope as viewed from the space shuttle Atlantis Photo Credit: NASA.

Today in Science

Hubble Space Telescope Launched

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched on this day in 1990 aboard the space shuttle Discovery.

Roughly the size of a school bus, the Hubble is not just a telescope capable of taking photographs of the universe. It is also an observatory, sending data back to earth as well. During its time in space, it has captured more than half a million photographs and nearly a million obserbavations of 30,000 celestial objects. More than 4,000 scientists have made use of that information, publishing nearly 9,000 journal articles, and contributing to the work on dark energy that won the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics.

Named for American astronomer Edwin Hubble, who discovered millions of galaxies and helped to identify the fact that the universe is expanding, the telescope circles the planet in low Earth orbit every 96 minutes.

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