A look at the numbers as Hubble Space Telescope enters its 25th year

May 15, 2014 by Rob Gutro
The Hubble Telescope as seen from NASA Space Shuttle STS-125 in May 2009. The Hubble Space Telescope was reborn with Servicing Mission 4 (SM4), the fifth and final servicing of the orbiting observatory. Credit: NASA

(Phys.org) —On April 24, 1990, the space shuttle Discovery lifted off from Earth with the Hubble Space Telescope nestled securely in its bay. The following day, Hubble was released into space, ready to peer into the vast unknown of space.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope recently marked its 24th year in and to celebrate its 25th year, NASA is taking a look at some of the amazing statistics generated by the world-famous telescope.

Hubble has reinvigorated and reshaped our perception of space and uncovered a universe where almost anything seems possible within the laws of physics. Hubble has revealed properties of space and time that for most of human history were only probed in the imaginations of scientists and philosophers alike. Today, Hubble continues to provide views of cosmic wonders never before seen and is at the forefront of many new discoveries.

Shortly after Hubble was deployed in 1990, the observatory's was discovered to have a flaw that affected the clarity of the telescope's early images. Astronauts repaired Hubble in December 1993. Including that trip, there have been five astronaut servicing missions to Hubble. The first servicing mission occurred Dec. 2-13, 1993. Subsequent servicing missions occurred on Feb. 11-21, 1997; Dec.19-27, 1999; March 1-12, 2002; and May 11-24, 2009.

Here are some statistics on the Hubble as of its 24th anniversary on April 24, 2014:

  • Hubble captures pictures of stars, planets and galaxies from its orbit around Earth while moving at 17,500 mph.
  • Hubble has made more the 1 million observations since its mission began in 1990.
  • Hubble has observed 38,000 celestial targets.
  • Hubble has orbited Earth more than 3 billion miles along a circular low-Earth orbit of about 350 miles altitude
  • As of Hubble's 24th anniversary in April 2014, Hubble's observations have taken up more than 100 terabytes of data.
  • Hubble currently generates 844 gigabytes of data per month.
  • About 4,000 astronomers from all over the world have used the telescope to probe the universe.
  • Astronomers using Hubble data have published more than 11,000 scientific papers, making it one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built.
  • Hubble weighs 24,500 pounds—as much as two full-grown elephants.
  • Hubble's primary mirror is 2.4 meters (7 feet, 10.5 inches) across.
  • Hubble is 13.3 meters (43.5 feet) long—the length of a large school bus.

Explore further: Hubble Space Telescope spots Mars-bound comet sprout multiple jets

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hubble monitors supernova in nearby galaxy M82

Feb 26, 2014

This is a Hubble Space Telescope composite image of a supernova explosion designated SN 2014J in the galaxy M82. At a distance of approximately 11.5 million light-years from Earth it is the closest supernova ...

NASA Invites Public to Choose Hubble's Next Discovery

Jan 28, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA is giving everyone the opportunity to use the world's most celebrated telescope to explore the heavens and boldly look where the Hubble Space Telescope has never looked before.

NASA Hubble sees sparring antennae galaxies

Nov 18, 2013

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has snapped the best ever image of the Antennae Galaxies. Hubble has released images of these stunning galaxies twice before, once using observations from its Wide Field ...

Recommended for you

US-India to collaborate on Mars exploration

6 hours ago

The United States and India, fresh from sending their own respective spacecraft into Mars' orbit earlier this month, on Tuesday agreed to cooperate on future exploration of the Red Planet.

Swift mission observes mega flares from a mini star

6 hours ago

On April 23, NASA's Swift satellite detected the strongest, hottest, and longest-lasting sequence of stellar flares ever seen from a nearby red dwarf star. The initial blast from this record-setting series ...

Sandblasting winds shift Mars' landscape

11 hours ago

High winds are a near-daily force on the surface of Mars, carving out a landscape of shifting dunes and posing a challenge to exploration, scientists said Tuesday.

PanSTARRS K1, the comet that keeps going

13 hours ago

Thank you K1 PanSTARRS for hanging in there! Some comets crumble and fade away. Others linger a few months and move on. But after looping across the night sky for more than a year, this one is nowhere near ...

User comments : 0