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January 27, 2015 AT 1:00 pm

The Hubble Space Telescope: The camera that changed the universe

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Ethan Siegel has a great (and extensive) post over on Medium about the history of the Hubble Space Telescope. It’s definitely worth a read. Fun fact I learned from the piece: There are over 100,000,000,000 confirmed galaxies in the universe (confirmed because of Hubble)! Makes you feel small doesn’t it? Also, look at those photos! Beautiful.

The Hubble Space Telescope took its first images in 1990, but it was really starting in 1993 — after the first servicing mission — that the science really started to skyrocket.

That, of course and the awe that it brought us back. Not only did we fix the initial problem of the primary mirror and spherical aberration, but we were able to upgrade the main camera.

What we installed — the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) — was without a doubt the camera that changed the Universe. Just looking at what the difference was before and after the first servicing mission!

From 1993 to 2009, WFPC2 was the main, workhorse camera on the Hubble Space Telescope, and took a myriad of iconic images over its lifetime. But five of them stand out, in particular, as images that changed our Universe forever.

Check out the full piece here.

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