From the dawn of humankind to a mere 400 years ago, all that
we knew about our universe came through observations with the
naked eye. Then Galileo turned his telescope toward the
heavens in 1610. The world was in for an awakening.
Saturn, we learned, had rings. Jupiter had moons. That
nebulous patch across the center of the sky called the Milky
Way was not a cloud but a collection of countless stars.
Within but a few years, our notion of the natural world would
be forever changed. A scientific and societal revolution
In the centuries that followed, telescopes grew in size and
complexity and, of course, power. They were placed far from
city lights and as far above the haze of the atmosphere as
possible. Edwin Hubble, for whom the Hubble Telescope is
named, used the largest telescope of his day in the 1920s at
the Mt. Wilson Observatory near Pasadena, Calif., to discover
galaxies beyond our own.
Hubble, the observatory, is the first major optical telescope
to be placed in space, the ultimate mountaintop. Above the
distortion of the atmosphere, far far above rain clouds and
light pollution, Hubble has an unobstructed view of the
universe. Scientists have used Hubble to observe the most
distant stars and galaxies as well as the planets in our solar
Hubble's launch and deployment in April 1990 marked the most
significant advance in astronomy since Galileo's telescope.
Our view of the universe and our place within it has never
been the same.
Mysteries of Deep Space: To the Edge of the Universe (30 min)
Nearly 70 years after the astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered
that the universe is rapidly expanding, the space telescope
that bears his name has opened a stunning new window into deep
Some Fundamental Concepts from Test of Big Bang Cosmology
Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive