The famous Hubble Space Telescope marks 25 years of observations in April 2015, and that anniversary is in part being celebrated in a new series of educational videos created by the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) of Baltimore, which manages Hubble on behalf of NASA. The first video of the series, “Hubble: The Beginning,” includes interviews with Nancy Roman and Bob O’Dell, of the project.
Dr. Nancy Grace Roman, first chief astronomer at NASA’s then Office of Space Science and the one who set up NASA’s astronomy program in the 1960s, speaks about the importance of building and launching a space telescope instead of building duplicates of the Earth-based Palomar 200-inch telescope.
“Astronomers have wanted for generations actually to get a telescope above the atmosphere,” Roman said. “I like to describe the atmosphere being something like looking through an old stained glass window… The glass has defects in it and that sort of keeps you from getting a sharp picture and the atmosphere also has defects.”
“The very sharp images it would produce would allow you to see things that were much fainter than would ever be possible from the ground,” said C. Robert O’Dell, of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. O’Dell leads a research team that used Hubble and several ground-based telescopes to obtain the best view yet of the iconic Ring Nebula.
The video addresses several challenges at the time of Hubble’s creation, including digital imaging at a time when the industry was in its infancy. The video also speaks on how the telescope has far exceeded its initial life-span.
The 4 minute and 23 second video was produced by STScI. The “Hubble 25th Anniversary” video series is available in HQ, large and small Quicktime formats, HD, large and small WMV formats, and HD, large and small Xvid formats.