FOR RELEASE: 11:00 a.m. (EST) December 4, 2018

PHOTO NO.: STScI-PRC18-48a

Caption: This gif image compares the blurry, pre-servicing image taken with Hubble's Wide Field/Planetary Camera 1 in 1993, to an image taken in 2009 with Hubble's newer, Wide Field Camera 3 instrument, installed during the last astronaut servicing mission to the space telescope.

Credit: NASA, ESA, J. DePasquale (STScI), and Judy Schmidt

CELEBRATORY GALAXY PHOTO HONORS 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST HUBBLE SERVICING MISSION

Over the past 28 years the Hubble Space Telescope has photographed innumerable galaxies throughout the universe, near and far. But one especially photogenic galaxy located 55 million light-years away holds a special place in Hubble history. As NASA made plans to correct Hubble's blurry vision in 1993 (due to a manufacturing flaw in its primary mirror, which created an optical effect called spherical aberration) they selected several astronomical objects that Hubble should be aimed at to demonstrate the planned optical fix. The magnificent grand spiral galaxy M100 seemed an ideal target that would just fit inside Hubble's field-of-view. This required that a comparison photo be taken while Hubble was still bleary-eyed. The Wide Field/Planetary Camera 1 was selected for the task. And, the picture had to be taken before astronauts swapped-out the camera with the vision-corrected Wide Field/Planetary Camera 2, in December 1993. Following the servicing mission Hubble re-photographed the galaxy again, and it snapped into crystal clear focus. The public celebrated with Hubble's triumphant return to the clear vision that had been promised. And, jaw-dropping pictures of the vast universe that followed have not disappointed space enthusiasts. Because of the astronaut servicing missions, Hubble's capabilities have only gotten better. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first servicing mission, this 2-panel photo compares the blurry, pre-servicing 1993 image (left) to a 2009 image (right) taken with Hubble's newer, Wide Field Camera 3 instrument, installed during the last astronaut servicing mission to the space telescope.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, in Washington, D.C.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and Judy Schmidt

For images and more information about galaxy M100 and Hubble, visit:

http://hubblesite.org/news_release/news/2018-48

http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
410-338-4514
[email protected]

 

 

 

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Newswise: Celebratory Galaxy Photo Honors 25th Anniversary of NASA's First Hubble Servicing Mission

Credit: NASA, ESA, and Judy Schmidt

Caption: In celebration of the 25th anniversary of NASA's first astronaut mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit, a comparison photo is being released today showing one of Hubble's first targets after its 1993 optical repair. [RIGHT] - This photogenic celestial object, the magnificent spiral galaxy M100, is seen here as observed with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3. Hubble's newest camera, it was installed during the last space shuttle servicing mission to Hubble in May 2009, and the M100 photo was taken a few months later. M100 is designated a grand-design spiral galaxy because of its two prominent lanes of young, blue stars. This is caused by ripples of matter in the stellar disk that propagate through the galaxy and create high-density regions of gas. These denser areas precipitate new star formation. In addition, clearly visible are two tightly wound, inner spiral arms wrapping around the core where there is a small bar pattern of stars. The yellowish color of the inner region is from older populations of stars. [LEFT] - For comparison, this is a 1993 image of M100 taken with Hubble's Wide Field/Planetary Camera 1, which was part of an original suite of instruments launched aboard Hubble in 1990. Because of a manufacturing flaw in the primary mirror, which created an optical effect called spherical aberration, the galaxy appears blurred because it cannot be brought into a single focus. In particular, the orange foreground star below image center has tentacle-like image artifacts that are clear evidence of spherical aberration, where the starlight is not concentrated into a single point. The same galaxy was re-photographed with the Wide Field/Planetary Camera 2, which was installed during the December 1993 space shuttle servicing mission (SM1, STS-61). The replacement camera contained corrective optics to compensate for the space telescope’s fuzzy view. Like putting contact lenses on a nearsighted patient, the M100 picture snapped into focus and was a stunning demonstration that Hubble had been returned to its expected sharpness. The M100 photo was just a preview of what was to come in subsequent servicing missions, which further improved Hubble’s capabilities. Hubble has enthralled the public with evocative and breathtaking pictures of the universe that have become even more stunning since that very first servicing mission.

Newswise: Celebratory Galaxy Photo Honors 25th Anniversary of NASA's First Hubble Servicing Mission

Credit: NASA, ESA, STScI, and Judy Schmidt

Caption: HUBBLE'S IMPROVING VISION SINCE THE FIRST SERVICING MISSION 25 YEARS AGO. The celebration of the 25th anniversary of NASA's first astronaut mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit marks a pivotal moment for the telescope and for astronomy. The mission restored the scientific power of the telescope and enabled remarkable discoveries which will continue into the future. These three images are of the central region of the magnificent spiral galaxy M100, taken with three generations of cameras that were sequentially swapped out aboard the telescope, and document the consistently improving capability of the observatory. The image on the left was taken with the Wide Field/Planetary Camera 1 in 1993. The photo is blurry due to a manufacturing flaw (called spherical aberration) in Hubble's primary mirror. Celestial images could not be brought into a single focus. The middle image was taken in late 1993 with Wide Field/Planetary Camera 2 that was installed during the December 2 – 13 space shuttle servicing mission (SM1, STS-61). The camera contained corrective optics to compensate for the mirror flaw, and so the galaxy snapped into sharp focus when photographed. The image on the right was taken with a newer instrument, Wide Field Camera 3, that was installed on Hubble during the space shuttle servicing mission 4 in May 2009. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of NASA's first space servicing mission to Hubble, these comparison photos of one of the telescope's first targets are being released today.