2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
The Hubble Space Telescope has sent in the first photograph taken since it left Safe Mode, into which it was transferred in early October due to a gyroscope breakdown. The image shows many distant galaxies in the constellation Pegasus, according to a press release on the observatory's website.
The image was taken with the WFC 3 (Wide Field Camera 3) in the early morning of October 27, 2018 and shows a small area of the sky in the constellation Pegasus, near the asterism Great Square of Pegasus. The image shows many distant galaxies, including those with a burst of star formation, the light from which lasted for about 11 billion years. This is the first photograph taken by the telescope after a three-week period of inactivity in safe mode - in October, the device's gyroscope in the attitude control system failed.
To maintain its full functionality, the Hubble needs at least three working gyroscopes out of six available, which provide the telescope pointing along three axes. The gyroscopes are divided into three pairs, each with an old-style gyroscope (constantly working) and a new one with an extended resource (reserve). After the failure of the telescope, only two backup gyroscopes remained in working order. Despite the fact that the telescope is capable of working with a limited area of the sky using two or even one gyroscope (the second will be used as a backup), the engineers still tried to turn on the third one from the reserve gyroscope, which was previously disabled due to operational problems … The first restart attempt, which took place on October 16, was unsuccessful, however, on October 18, after a series of test runs, the engineers managed to return the gyroscope to operability in both modes of operation (when the telescope is re-pointing from target to target and when the telescope needs to maintain its orientation to observe one object in the sky). Late in the evening of October 26, after a series of additional tests in various modes of operation, the telescope was able to return to normal operation.
The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the most famous and efficient orbiting observatories in operation today. It was launched into space in April 1990, and for more than two decades of work in near-earth orbit, it has accumulated and transmitted to Earth a huge amount of scientific data in various fields of astrophysics and cosmology, the total volume of which is tens of terabytes. In particular, the observations carried out by the telescope played a key role in the discovery of the accelerated expansion of the Universe, you can read about this in our material "Worked on 5 squared".
Earlier, we talked about how the Hubble Telescope helped study the structure of the residual disk of a distant star, found a close analogue of ancient massive galaxies and saw the most distant star.