After 25 years and 4.8 billion kilometers, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are celebrating the achievements of the Hubble Space Telescope. The observational instrument, launched in April 1990, peers into the most distant corners of the universe, advancing our understanding of cosmic events since the Big Bang.
“Hubble has completely transformed our view of the universe, revealing the true beauty and richness of the cosmos,” said John Grunsfeld, former astronaut with NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
The space telescope:
- Is as long as a bus (13.3 meters) and weighs more than 12,000 kilograms.
- Makes a full orbit around the Earth every 90 minutes, at an altitude of 550 kilometers.
- Can see a really long way — the equivalent of a person who is standing in Washington and can see a pair of fireflies in Tokyo.
- Has peered across millions of light-years to see cosmic events of long ago, using a primary mirror about 2.4 meters in diameter.
Hubble’s more than 1.2 million observations have transformed the way scientists look at space and have dated the universe at 13 billion to 14 billion years old.
The telescope played a key role in the discovery of dark energy, a mysterious force that is causing the accelerated expansion of the universe.
Find out more about the Hubble Space Telescope on the NASA website.