Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2001 August 6
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

The Orbiting Hubble Space Telscope
Credit: STS-103, STScI, ESA, NASA

Explanation: The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is the largest orbiting public optical telescope in history. Its 2.4 meter diameter reflecting mirror and its perch above Earth's atmosphere allow it to create exceptionally sharp images. Originally launched in 1990, HST optics were repaired to their intended accuracy in 1993 by the first of several regular servicing missions. Astronomers using HST continue to make numerous monumental scientific discoveries, including new estimates of the age and composition of our universe, previously unknown galaxies, evidence of massive black holes in the centers of galaxies, protoplanetary star systems and star forming regions, and a better understanding of physical processes in our universe. A larger Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) may be launched as early as 2007.

Tomorrow's picture: A July Dawn

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.