Hubble Shines, But Gets No Respect

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 31, 2008 in Science |

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is back in business. Just a couple of days after the orbiting observatory was brought back online, Hubble aimed its prime working camera, the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), at a particularly intriguing target, a pair of gravitationally interacting galaxies called Arp 147. The two galaxies happen to be oriented so that they appear to mark the number 10. The left-most galaxy, or the "one" in this image, is relatively undisturbed, apart from a smooth ring of starlight. It appears nearly edge-on to our line of sight. The right-most galaxy, the "zero" of the pair, exhibits a clumpy, blue ring of intense star formation.Credit: NASA, ESA and M. Livio (STScI)

Just a few days after coming back to life Hubble rewards us with the fantastic image above of a pair of double galaxies, and yet like some sad ignored family member will have to wait for a repair mission for a few months:

Revived Hubble snaps perfect picture

“The Hubble Space Telescope is working again, taking stunning cosmic photos after a breakdown a month ago. But the good news was quickly tempered by NASA’s announcement Thursday that a mission to upgrade the popular telescope will be delayed at least until May.

A key replacement part that is essential because of the telescope’s failure in September won’t be ready for at least six months. It was the latest twist in the long-running drama surrounding the 18-year-old space telescope — one that initially took only fuzzy photos, then when fixed, provided dazzling and scientifically significant pictures of space, including a new one NASA showed Thursday.”

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