The Best of Hubble
December 10, 2003 12:02 PM   Subscribe

The Best of Hubble Its mission will end in 2010. Four years later it will re-enter the atmosphere and burn up. Many astronomers are calling for Hubble to be refurbished and its mission extended to 2020. Here are some of it's best pictures.
posted by reverendX (14 comments total)
[warning... Flash]
posted by reverendX at 12:03 PM on December 10, 2003

Particularly stunning pictures, though! There are many more pictures, sans Flash, at the HubbleSite Gallery, an official presentation of the Space Telescope Science Institute.
posted by Songdog at 12:26 PM on December 10, 2003

Absolutely amazing!!!
posted by mygoditsbob at 1:15 PM on December 10, 2003

Buurrp! Um, very tasty, thanks!
posted by Pressed Rat at 1:46 PM on December 10, 2003

I wonder if it has crossed anyone's mind to rig Hubble for a "protective mode", cover it with protective material, then blast it out *further* into space. Even if they can't think of anything to do with it *now*, it will still be there, with known technology fit for upgrade, for a long, long time.

Hell, with an upgrade of an external propulsion system, a protective shell, and boosting of its communications equipment, it could be used as a deep space probe.

There is an enormous number of possibilities here.
posted by kablam at 1:53 PM on December 10, 2003

The picture of 1500 galaxies is particularly 'wow'.
posted by Orange Goblin at 2:15 PM on December 10, 2003

Don't worry about running out of pretty pictures (and spectacular science.) Hubble's very capable successor should be going up just as Hubble is coming down. Although, there is some concern in the astronomy community that there might not be overlap between the two missions (can't find a good article right now), meaning that we might be stuck without a space telescope for some period of time. It all depends on how well the JWST people can keep to their schedule. (Proposed launch: August 2011)
posted by badstone at 2:27 PM on December 10, 2003

Besides HubbleSite, STScI also has the older Hubble Heritage gallery. There are links to full res images there.
posted by badstone at 2:43 PM on December 10, 2003

Fantastic presentation, thanks. I wish it went a little more slowly, though, so I could read the captions and enjoy the photos. At least it's pausable/rewindable.
posted by scarabic at 2:48 PM on December 10, 2003

... and this is so just the first peek ...
posted by magullo at 4:15 PM on December 10, 2003

I got a refurbished Hubble from Dell and it burned up in the atmosphere! WTF?
posted by zanpo at 9:06 PM on December 10, 2003

With the use of adaptive optics (originally developed for photographing soviet satellites) earthbound telescopes can now supposedly produce results that were previously possible only with space based telescopes. (more here)
posted by golo at 11:08 PM on December 10, 2003

Oye, the problem with photos like these is they are so very beautiful and mysterious and fascinating that I get immediately upset I wasn't born 3000 years from now when maybe I would actually go out and see them for myself. As magullo put it, this is just the beginning, we can only hope this isn't the only peek we'll get (Arthur C. Clarke has had my hopes up since I was eleven, even though 2001 didn't pan out).

*watches again*
posted by nelleish at 11:30 PM on December 10, 2003

Well, the pictures aren't actually what the nebulae and such really look like in real life. You wouldn't be able to see such a panopoly of color. The Los Angeles Times did an article about this. The images were created by assigning a single color to signatures that certain chemicals (I think) reflect, and compositing it together so that it's aesthetically pleasing.

I was pretty disappointed too.
posted by aznblader at 1:59 AM on December 12, 2003

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