Hubble is rebuilding after a major glitch

The Hubble Space Telescope is restoring full operation after several weeks spent in safe mode due to a serious malfunction in one of its components. NASA first noticed a problem with the observatory on November 19. For the next few days in a row, the telescope was “feverish”—its work was constantly interrupted. On November 23, it entered safe mode for a long time, from which it came out only on December 8.

The Hubble telescope is in low-Earth orbit. Illustration: NASA

The problem was caused by one of the three working gyroscopes that helped turn the telescope in the right direction. Hubble can even work with one of them. But in this case, it would lead to the loss of observational data, since it would take longer to aim at a new target. Now that all three gyroscopes have been debugged and are working again, the orbital observatory has returned to normal mode.

Currently, two instruments of the telescope — the WFC wide-angle camera and the advanced ASC observation camera — are working online. NASA continues to gradually turn on other instruments at the observatory. By the end of the month, the support group plans to resume operation of the spectrographs.

Hubble and James Webb tandem for the sake of science

After the launch of the more powerful and modern James Webb Space Telescope, the Hubble Observatory found itself in the shadow of its “younger brother”. However, it is important for astronomers to have access to both telescopes, since they operate in different spectral ranges. Hubble takes photos mainly in visible light, equivalent to what the human eye sees, with a certain sensitivity to ultraviolet and near infrared ranges.

On the other hand, James Webb works primarily in the infrared part of the spectrum — both in the near and middle ranges. This allows it to see extremely distant galaxies, the light of which, due to the removal of Hubble’s law, shifts from the visible part of the spectrum to the infrared. These distant and therefore very old galaxies would be difficult or even impossible to observe using optical observatories.

These two telescopes also work in tandem to create a more detailed picture of the surrounding Universe.

Earlier, we reported on how the billionaire called for sending a repair mission to the telescope.

According to NASA

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