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NASA Space Science

20 Years of Hubble 67

Posted by timothy
from the another-nasa-fake dept.
GPLHost-Thomas writes "The Hubble Space Telescope roared into space 20 years ago to begin a career rewriting what we know about the universe around us: the age of the universe, the composition of galaxies' cores, how planets form, and much more. NASA released some of the most spectacular photos for the event."
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20 Years of Hubble

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  • Nasa? (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Smallpond (221300)

    Did you by any chance mean NASA?

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, Nasa. Martin Nasa who lives a few miles from me released the photos.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anpheus (908711)

      Some overseas news sources, such as the BBC, use a style guide that does make it "Nasa" not "NASA".

      • Re:Nasa? (Score:5, Funny)

        by click2005 (921437) * on Sunday April 25, 2010 @05:56PM (#31978386)

        Then shouldn't that be the Bbc?

        • Re:Nasa? (Score:4, Informative)

          by R.Mo_Robert (737913) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @06:12PM (#31978502)

          Then shouldn't that be the Bbc?

          No. NASA is an acronym; BBC is an initialism. Some style guides treat them differently, capitalizing only the first letter of the former but all letters of the latter. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbreviation#United_Kingdom [wikipedia.org].

        • Re:Nasa? (Score:5, Informative)

          Then shouldn't that be the Bbc?

          No. According to the BBC style guide, if an acronym is commonly spoken as a word, e.g. LASER, NASA, RADAR, then it is spelt as a normal word; laser, Nasa, radar. However, if the acronym is spoken as a acronym, as a sequence of letters, then it is spelt using all capitals, e.g. BBC, CNN, NSA.

          Of course, the is a BBC/UK style guide. Americans do things differently when it comes to acronyms. American organisations often carry acronyms to excess(GE has an internal acronym dictionary), frequently structuring the original description to fit a premade acronym rather than the other way around. The most notorious example of this is the USA PATRIOT Act(yes the USA is part of the acronym). Since they are tailored to be like words, Americans tend to use acronyms as words, but still use upper case(go faster stripe) spelling in many documents. Hence they would write NASA and not Nasa.

          As someone who grew up using the UK style, but who spends a lot of time on the US-centric internet I've tended to notice these differences as time goes by. Also, I am no longer able to discern which spelling must be used for countless words in English, which I imagine is the case for a lot of people. It's strange to think that when Hubble launched these kinds of confusion did not really impact on daily life so much.

          • by arielCo (995647)

            Then shouldn't that be the Bbc?

            No. According to the BBC style guide, if an acronym is commonly spoken as a word, e.g. LASER, NASA, RADAR, then it is spelt as a normal word; laser, Nasa, radar. However, if the acronym is spoken as a acronym, as a sequence of letters, then it is spelt using all capitals, e.g. BBC, CNN, NSA.

            So, is it Mr. Mxyzptlk or Mr. MXYZPTLK?

            Sorry, couldn't help it. ;)

            • by dbcad7 (771464)

              Well using the DC style guide.. (note DC would be DC using the BBC style guide).. You would have to pronounce "Klit" "Pez" "Yaxm" to determine the proper spelling.. If that doesn't work, we'll try agoin later in 90 days.

              Klaatu barada nikto

          • by sznupi (719324)

            At least "Beeb" is always available, I guess...

        • by Mikkeles (698461)

          No. BBC is an abbreviation; Nasa is an acronym in that it has become a word (cf. radar).

        • by Edzor (744072)
          NASA can be pronounced as a word and so can be treated like a noun, while BBC cant. Technically this should apply to NATO as well, but fuck it, that's the English language for you.
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            Technically this should apply to NATO as well, but fuck it, that's the English language for you.

            The BBC and other British news organizations do in fact refer to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as Nato, not NATO.

  • Enhancements (Score:5, Informative)

    by michael_cain (66650) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @05:54PM (#31978362) Journal
    As much as I enjoy the Hubble pictures, I always try to keep in mind that for most of them, there is no place that you could go and see the same image with your naked eye. False colors and extensions into the infrared portions of the spectrum create images that are both lovely and scientifically valuable; but it's not what you would see if you were positioned to look without equipment.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sznupi (719324)

      + exposures lasting a long time, to capture the minute amounts of photons. Eye would often see...well...mostly black.

      Can't wait for the full scope of results from Herschel, Kepler and upcoming JWST. Just too bad the "second Hubble" wasn't built from spares and sent using expendable booster, it probably wouldn't add that much to what Hubble has already cost (especially considering servicing missions)

    • Re:Enhancements (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MartinSchou (1360093) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:46PM (#31979200)

      but it's not what you would see if you were positioned to look without equipment.

      What's your point? If we didn't have equipment, we couldn't see the rings around Saturn. We couldn't see Uranus let alone Neptune.

      Once you accept that we can use equipment to see things that are beyond the ability of our naked eye, you'd be an idiot to limit said equipment to our eyes' limited range of the electromagnetic spectrum.

      This, of course, leaves us with a dilemma - how do we visualize something that we cannot see with our naked eye? If we just display pictures using the actual wavelengths, we can't see anything. So we use false colours.

      • Re:Enhancements (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ArsonSmith (13997) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @08:40PM (#31979544) Journal

        I think he meant that you couldn't even take a space ship to some point in space and see the same thing, while with Saturn's rings you could fly to some specific distance from Saturn and see it in it's entirety, while the pillars of creation from almost any point in space would look like mostly empty space.

        • Sure, but you can't possibly get to see something like the Pillars of Creation [wikipedia.org] without equipment, no matter where you go.

          First of all the structure is too large to see up close. That'd be like trying to figure out the shape of an ocean by standing on one shore. And it's probably close to impossible for our eyes to see space dust. We'd need to have it blocking some light source, and then we're back to trying to deduce the shape of something that is so massive.

          And even then - how in the world does a space shi

          • by ArsonSmith (13997)

            I think the idea was that spaceships only alter our vantage point, not the light coming into our eye or a conversion of non-visible light into something visible. It's the difference between a fire tower and a pair of binoculars. Nobody would claim them to be the same thing.

            • Sure, but it's still a silly argument to make. What exactly are we supposed to do with data that we cannot visualize otherwise? Just ignore it? Pretend it's not there?

              The false colour images we, the public, get aren't just PR meant to drum up support. They still have scientific value.

        • I think he meant that you couldn't even take a space ship to some point in space and see the same thing,

          You could if the viewport of the spacecraft had an augmented reality overlay that enhanced the the surroundings with false color. Or, for that matter, if you had an implanted eye that could see multiple wavelengths that the human eye cannot see. If we are talking about space travel, I get the feeling that a lot of technology is going to come a long way before we fly out to these places. I mean, hell, you can already use your iPhone or Droid for augmented reality applications.

      • by rune.w (720113)

        What's your point? If we didn't have equipment, we couldn't see the rings around Saturn. We couldn't see Uranus let alone Neptune.

        You probably mean we couldn't see the rings around Jupiter instead of Saturn. Saturn's rings are quite visible from any decent backyard telescope.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drooling-dog (189103)

      If we're going to overcome gravity to get to the vicinity of those objects, we certainly should be willing to overcome the limits of the visible spectrum to experience them to the fullest...

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "but it's not what you would see if you were positioned to look without equipment."

      Without equipment, you'd see nothing at all.
      That's sort of the point in building telescopes.

    • by Bemopolis (698691)
      The same could be said of ultra-slow motion movies of physical processes, electron microscopy, or even Gram staining. One of the driving forces of science is to overcome our physical human limitations in its pursuit. (And thanks to HST, I overcame mine and got my doctorate, so don't you sass off about it.)

      The fact that Hubble produces poster-ready photographs (real color or not) you can stare at pleasantly in a bong-fueled haze is ancillary, but still goddam cool.
  • I wish they didn't use the star filters though.

    • Re:Nice pix (Score:5, Informative)

      by Phroon (820247) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @07:10PM (#31978908) Homepage
      The "star filters" you mention are actually diffraction spikes [wikipedia.org] caused by the rods that support the secondary mirror of the telescope. They are an intrinsic quality of the telescope. If you look at the left side of this image [wikimedia.org] of the Hubble under construction you can see three (of the four) black spokes that connect the outer cylindrical support to the cylinder in the middle (this is where the secondary mirror is mounted to). It is the light diffracting off of these spokes that cause the starburst pattern that you noticed.
  • by balsy2001 (941953) on Sunday April 25, 2010 @06:40PM (#31978670)
    One of the most sublime photos ever taken. I am amazed every time I look at it.
  • There's an IMAX movie out right now called Hubble 3D [imdb.com] which details the repairs of the Hubble as well as some discoveries and has some fun effects. It was rather inspiring. I definitely loved it and plan to take the kids.

    -l

  • how fast time flies

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