In 1990, we launched the Hubble telescope into orbit as the first sophisticated orbital observatory. This was an incredible achievement, but also allowed us to study things never before possible. The high resolution spectrograph allows us to observe and record ultra violet waves that could never make it through the earth’s atmosphere. This is hughely impactful to our observations and allows us to see the universe clearer than ever before.
Upon its launch, the telescope was malfunctioning and ineffective at making precise recordings, but through multiple missions and spacewalks, the telescope was fully functional and meeting its full potential. With fully functioning parts, we were able to make some remarkable discoveries. Through the observation of nearby cepheid variable stars, we were finally able to make an accurate calculation of the Hubble constant. While this had been estimated previously, we now had a reasonable calculation of the universe’s rate of expansion. Not only did we find values of important constants, we were able to get a clearer picture of the universe’s history as a whole. In the Hubble Deep Field, a photo including over 1,500 galaxies, we saw some of the “story” of the universe.
Hubble Deep Field
This telescope was a huge success. It far outlived its expected lifespan and brought numerous incredible discoveries to mankind. So yes, the Hubble telescope was potentially the most important advancement in the study of the universe to date. Now the James Webb has taken over the mission and we can fully appreciate the impact the Hubble space telescope had on our understanding of the universe today.