Eleven Things Everyone Should Know About Hubble, Courtesy of a 15-Year-Old Astronomer

Thursday, April 08, 2010

This month, the Hubble Telescope celebrates twenty years in space. Why should we care? And does an orbiting telescope matter to those of us who aren't scientists?

Caroline Moore became the youngest person to discover a supernova on November 7, 2008 (at the age of 14).  She explains why, yes, the Hubble matters.

And Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, shares discoveries that the Hubble has revealed about the universe, which will blow your mind.

Caroline's eleven facts about the Hubble, as well as a Nova-sponsored video profile on her own work, are below. To learn more about the Hubble, tune in to Nova's mini-series "Hunting the Edge of Space."

 Caroline Moore's Eleven Facts Everyone Should Know About The Hubble Space Telescope:

  1. The Hubble Space Telescope was named for the notable astronomer Edwin Hubble and was launched April 24, 1990. 
  2. Hubble has looked further into space than any other instrument: some 20 billion light years.
  3. In 2003, Hubble looked at a small patch of space that you could cover with a match head at arms length and found 10,000 galaxies, where we once thought there was nothing.
  4. Hubble observations have lead to over 7,000 scientific articles.
  5. Every 97 minutes, Hubble completes an orbit and as it passes over your house, you can look up and see it as long as you don’t live in the city.
  6. After Hubble was launched into orbit, they found it had a tiny flaw.  It was just slightly the wrong shape by about 1/50th the thickness of a human hair.
  7. Hubble has been repaired 4 times, by the Hubble repairman, John Grunsfeld.
  8. Hubble can see 20 billion light years across the universe, but can’t see the flag on the moon.
  9. Hubble weighs 24,500 lb. on Earth, but when in space, you can move it with your finger.
  10. Hubble, over its lifetime, has cost $10 billion.  Compare this to the cost of cigarettes in the U.S. for one year: $157.7 billion.
  11. Hubble is not in danger of being demoted to a dwarf space telescope when the James Webb Telescope comes on line in 2014.

Below, 10 facts about Caroline Moore, from Nova's web series, "The Secret Life of Scientists."


Caroline Moore and Derrick Pitts

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [4]

Jim from New York

I agree. John H. was out of line with a bright and engaging girl. Even if he meant the comment more for the gentleman from the Franklin Institute, it was disrespectful and distracted from the piece.

Apr. 08 2010 11:03 PM

I agree with Kris. I was taken aback by his order to her as well. She was very well spoken and her enthusiasm contagious. She should be allowed to speak as a 15-year-old speaks, "Oh my gosh!"-es and all.

Apr. 08 2010 03:49 PM
Kris Martin

Excellent interview w/ the young Caroline. I'm somewhat disappointed in John H.'s harsh demand concerning her enthusiasm about how she should answer her last question. Perhaps her enthusiasm should be embraced as opposed to ostracized. Perhaps I just 'heard' John incorrectly. I will consider this as a possibility.

Apr. 08 2010 09:57 AM
Toni Erskine from Lake Orion, MI

So exciting to see and hear such a well educated, well spoken young lady on your show! Belated congratulations on the discovery of your supernova!!

Apr. 08 2010 09:09 AM

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