Astrophysicist Lyman Spitzer proposed the concept of a telescope in space back in 1946, and doggedly fought for it-- yet the Hubble wasn't launched until 1990. Due to budget and time constraints, the Hubble ended up being sent out with a defective mirror-- but this was able to be adjusted later by adding corrective lenses, Zimmerman detailed.
The Hubble's images changed the perception of both scientists and the public, depicting the universe as a violent and strange place, he noted. Hubble showed how black holes are ubiquitous and capable of "eating" stars. Its "deep field" images are particularly striking, Zimmerman commented. Created with exposures of a "million seconds" (30 days), they revealed thousands of galaxies just within a single spot in the sky. Hubble is scheduled to receive a final repair mission in October, and could remain in a stable orbit until 2020.
The last hour of the program featured Open Lines.
Bumper music from Wednesday June 18, 2008