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Hubble Space Telescope's Sixteenth Anniversary 66

An anonymous reader writes "This week marks the sixteenth anniversary of the launch of Hubble Space Telescope. 'To celebrate [...] NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), are releasing this image of the magnificent starburst galaxy, Messier 82 (M82). This mosaic image is the sharpest wide-angle view ever obtained of M82. The galaxy is remarkable for its bright blue disk, webs of shredded clouds, and fiery-looking plumes of glowing hydrogen blasting out of its central regions.' Wired News also has some nice additional images."
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Hubble Space Telescope's Sixteenth Anniversary

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 27, 2006 @08:51PM (#15217928)
    Cute picture, but still nothing compares to this []. It will make you feel insignificant real quick.
    • by helioquake (841463) * on Thursday April 27, 2006 @09:28PM (#15218109) Journal
      Yes, indeed.

      And M82 is truly a bad example of what the Hubble can really do.


      Because you can get a picture of M82 from the ground just as well
      as the Hubble does. See here [] for example.

      The true advantage of the Hubble can be realized when you are looking at
      a smaller object, like V838 Mon or the finer details of the Helix Nebula.
      • by Rothron the Wise (171030) on Friday April 28, 2006 @01:45AM (#15219068)
        Because you can get a picture of M82 from the ground just as well as the Hubble does.

        Your example (866x972) hardly compares to the massive 9500x7400 pixel hubble image, which has fewer artefacts and far more background detail, but I agree that the ultra deep field image is way cooler, and also quite impossible to take without a space telescope.
    • by xSauronx (608805) <xsauronxdamnit@g m a i l . com> on Thursday April 27, 2006 @09:44PM (#15218177)
      I love how my dad, a fundy christian, looks at the deep field, and says to me "and people think there isnt life elsewhere out there, in all of that, there *has* to be", and then sees me reading "the origin of species" and tells me "you know, thats just called the theory of evolution."

      somehow he manages to believe in aliens halfway across the known universe, and that god created the earth and everything on it in 7 days. /rant over

      • I really don't see a contradiction. Presupposing the creation of earth by an omnipotent God, I would be more suprised if there *weren't* similar acts of creation all over the universe. If you read popular fiction nowadays though, the prevailing attitude is that an alien landing on earth would somehow "shut up" all the theists. I doubt it would.
        • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:29PM (#15218373) Journal
          I wonder what they'd think if the alien said "Oh yeah, and all those Creationists of yours are absolute retards. Five thousand zloklor ago our scientists and politicians agreed that Creationists were the worst kind of intellectual ingrates, and held official Mock A Creationist Days, and that's why we're landing on your planet instead of you on ours!"
        • the contradiction is that he believes there are aliens, not because god put them there, but because space is so vast. he has some weird infatuation with alien sightings and such, as well, and never brings up god when he talks about any of it.

          dinosaur fossils are there because of the devil, aliens are there because we dont know what the shiny lights were.

      • Just a theory (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by amightywind (691887)

        "you know, thats just called thetheory of evolution."

        Why is that not an accurate statement? Is there something that sets it apart from other physical theories?

        • It's not that the statement isn't literally accurate, but that, reading in context, his father was using the word "theory" in a diminutive sense and not as scientists use it.
      • somehow he manages to believe in aliens halfway across the known universe, and that god created the earth and everything on it in 7 days. And, so what's your point? I love how kids view their parents like they need to be taught. Try listening to your dad before you publicly mock him. You might have second thoughts.
    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:27PM (#15218357) Homepage Journal
      I love that picture -- it's one of my desktops -- but it doesn't make me feel insignificant at all. It makes me feel pretty damn proud to be a member of the species that can not only see things like that, but make at least a good attempt at understanding them.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I remember seeing the Deep Field images right after they were released. After seeing them, I walked around for weeks with the lingering sense of how enormous, magnificent, and beautiful our universe truly is; a deeply humbling experience. Our galaxy, an ordinary spiral galaxy, is home to approximately 200 million stars. There are billions of galaxies. The universe itself is about 14 billion years old, and many cosmologists argue that it is at least 100 billion light years across. These numbers may seem hard
      • The universe itself is about 14 billion years old, and many cosmologists argue that it is at least 100 billion light years across.

        Please bear with my ignorance as to physics, but isn't that impossible?

        If the speed of light is supposed to be the fastest speed at which matter can travel is the speed of light, shouldn't the universe at most be 28 billion light years across?

        Or is it that the threshold between this universe and that which lies beyond can travel faster than the speed of light? and if th
        • You ask a few good questions that merit a longer answer.

          First of all, it is important to note that Einstein, in his theory of general relativity, showed that space can be curved. It is only because of this that one can even talk about something like the "diameter" of the universe. In simple GR, and using some fairly broad assumptions about the properties of the universe, there are three principal "shapes" for the universe: the universe can have a "positive curvature" and a finite volume, it can have an in

        • Space had been expanding whilst the photos are in transit:
    • I prefer this [] for feeling insignificant.

      Well maybe not insignificant, but at least well aware of what the universe thinks of our place in it ...
    • Don't forget [] (Some by Hubble) That image archive has a 10 year history (go to Calendar), absolutely stunning! I can't wait for the successor to Hubble, The James Webb Space Telescope... should be up by 2013 []
    • Cute picture, but still nothing compares to this. It will make you feel insignificant real quick.

      It's amazing, but in sixteen short years, people have forgotten what it was like before Hubble. Mark my words: when Hubble is gone, we'll be importing cheap South Asian humility.

      Ah, well. We'll always have that blue marble "Earthrise" photo.

    • Astronomers estimate there are on the order of 100 billion galaxies in the universe with an average of 100 billion stars each. That gives us roughly 10^22 stars (10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) stars in the universe. If somebody wrote an almanac with a one page article about each of those stars, it would be about 25 times as thick as the distance between Earth and Alpha Centauri.

      The largest nuclear bombs detonated by humans have released an energy of approximately 400 quadrillion joules. This is about 20
      • The largest nuclear bombs detonated by humans have released an energy of approximately 400 quadrillion joules. This is about 20,000,000 times the energy expended by a Saturn V rocket, one of humanity's most impressive feats of engineering.

        Something is wrong there.

        A Saturn V was loaded with a few kilotons of chemical explosives. The largest thermonuclear explosion was a few tens of megatons TNT equivalent. To a good enough approximation, all chemical explosives are about as powerful as TNT.

        I suggest

        • My values were based on a value of energy in a megaton of 4 gigajoules (if I remember right) and a really loose number tossed out in Lost Moon that a Saturn V produced enough energy to lift everyone in the US 1 foot off the ground (in the 60's). I made some assumptions about the number of people and their weights in the 60's and compared that to a 100 megaton bomb, although I think the largest every detonated was actually 50 megatons.

          Let's try looking at it from your method. A Saturn V weighed about 3 kilot
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I hope that NASA will open up Hubble to the public after it has served its scientific life. I for one would like to rent it and take nice pictures of the activities of all beautiful *cough* nude *cough* beaches on mother Earth...
  • ... Is NASA policy NEVER mentioning the industrial contractors whose engineers designed and whose techs actually build the damn this in their press releases.

    I used to work for the company that built Hubble (at the time called TRW, now NGST), and it was considered (from within) one of their greatest achivements in the civilian/scientific spacecraft...

    If you google now for "TRW Hubble" you'll find a whole bunch of articles mentioning that TRW was selected to build JWST, "Hubble replacement", but not too many
  • Some day (Score:2, Interesting)

    by invader_allan (583758)
    Some day we'll see space mechanics, and they'll bid on the service contract for fixing old out of service equipment. Hopefully the civilian shops will be running soon before Hubble becomes completely useless. Perhaps people will try to buy this thing long into the future, and have to redesign new parts to refurbish it and get it back in working order.
    • Re:Some day (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      you must not understand anything about this then if that is your idea. The Hubble will be a burnt core streaming into the ocean before ANY of that can happen.
  • by bobcardone (922176) on Thursday April 27, 2006 @09:43PM (#15218174)
    About the concept, design, development, engineering, construction, deployment, repair and usage of this wonderful device.
    Let's hope it takes a while before the last chapter is written...
  • FS M82 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 27, 2006 @10:02PM (#15218247)
    Well, you don't need more proof of His Noodliness existance than this []
    • Look at that bright thing on the right. How come a photo of a strong light source often has such a perfect "cross" of light beams, at 90 degree angles? I really would like an explanation from someone who knows about this optics stuff. I seek only to learn...
      • Since stars are basically point-like sources, they are prone to diffraction spikes caused by the telescope hardware itself. It's especially apparent when they are overexposed to enhance background objects. Typically the spikes are diffracted images of the supports for the secondary mirror of the scope.
  • last anniversary? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by peter303 (12292) on Friday April 28, 2006 @09:57AM (#15220902)
    The Hubble will probably die by 2010 when too many gyros fail or it sinks too low in the atmosphere. There is a shuttle missile repair kit in mothballs. NASA lacks mission time to do this if it only do oneor two launches a year. Plus the Hubble orbit is too out of sync with the International Space Station to be safe. Should the shuttle get into trouble, it lacks the capacity to change between the two orbits.
  • I was disappointed to see that they've not made available wallpapers 1600x1200 or for widescreen monitors of this shot. I just got a pretty 20" LCD whose native res is 1600x1200 . Anyone know someplace that has hi- res/widescreen wallpapers? And yes, I know that has some wallpapers @ 1600x1200.

Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code. -- Dave Olson