SPACE and ASTRONAUTICS
Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope
NOVA is probably the most popular science show ever. Produced by WGBH Boston, it is broadcast on Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the U.S. More than 100 other countries also broadcast the series, which is now 42 years old. It certainly is my favorite science show, and having been an ardent fan from the beginning, I dare say I’ve seen at least 90 percent of its programs over the years.
Which leads me to declare that the current production of “Invisible Universe Revealed,” documenting the life of the Hubble Space Telescope, now 25 years old, is without question one of my top ten of the series. No small tribute, given that the library of shows now stands at 782!
No man-made device has ever come close to uncovering so many world-view shattering secrets. How old is the Universe? To a close approximation it is 13.7 billion Earth years old. How many stars exist in the Universe? Not just our galaxy but the Universe. Answer: 2 followed by 22 zeroes. And, yes, distant galaxies inexplicably are rushing away at ever increasing velocity.
But some discoveries only birth a new generation of questions yet to be answered, such as what, exactly, is dark energy, which seems to comprise about 70% of the energy in our Universe. Or the corollary question concerning dark matter, since only 5% is what we call “normal” matter.
I urge you to watch the show, which can be seen on PBS.org at this link. Also well worth the time is a perusal of the many stunningly beautiful pictures available on this NASA link. Or click “Celestial Fireworks” image below--Ed.
NOVA Program Description
Twenty-five years ago, NASA launched one of the most ambitious experiments in the history of astronomy: the Hubble Space Telescope. In honor of Hubble's landmark anniversary, NOVA tells the remarkable story of the telescope that forever changed our understanding of the cosmos. But Hubble's early days nearly doomed it to failure: a one-millimeter engineering blunder had turned the billion-dollar telescope into an object of ridicule. It fell to five heroic astronauts in a daring mission to return Hubble to the cutting edge of science. This single telescope has helped astronomers pinpoint the age of the Universe, revealed the birthplace of stars and planets, advanced our understanding of dark energy and cosmic expansion, and uncovered black holes lurking at the heart of galaxies. Join NOVA for the story of this magnificent machine and its astonishing discoveries.
NASA Unveils “Celestial Fireworks” as Official Image for Hubble 25th Anniversary
“The brilliant tapestry of young stars flaring to life resemble a glittering fireworks display in the 25th anniversary NASA Hubble Space Telescope image, released to commemorate a quarter century of exploring the solar system and beyond since its launch on April 24, 1990.”--NASA
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