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Hubble Space Telescope

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On April 24, 1990, the Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Earth, from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with the Hubble Space Telescope.

The following day, Hubble was released into space and began its great job of reshaping of our perception of space.

Hubble continues to provide views of cosmic wonders never before seen and is at the forefront of many new discoveries.

Hubble has made more than 1.2 million observations since its mission began in 1990, but Hubble does not travel to stars, planets or galaxies. It takes pictures of them as it whirls around Earth at about 17,000 mph.

Hubble has traveled more than 3 billion miles along a circular low Earth orbit currently about 340 miles in altitude.

Hubble is 13.3 meters (43.5 feet) long — the length of a large school bus and has no thrusters and turns at about the speed of a minute hand on a clock, taking 15 minutes to turn 90 degrees.

Its primary mirror is 2.4 meters (7 feet, 10.5 inches) across. Hubble has peered back into the very distant past, to locations more than 13.4 billion light years from Earth. Outside the haze of our atmosphere, Hubble can see astronomical objects with an angular size of 0.05 arc seconds, which is like seeing a pair of fireflies in Tokyo from your home in Maryland, according to NASA.

The telescope was named after astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble (1889–1953), who made some of the most important discoveries in modern astronomy.

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