Christian Author: Nancy W. Boyer

Fascinating Places: Mauna Kea Observatories and Hubble Ultra Deep Field

Want to feel very,.  very…very small?      Most people do not have the privilege of visiting or researching at the  observatories on the high mountain top of Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA. This distant place  rises to an altitude of 13,600 feet.   It is the largest astronomical facility in the world.

“It is operated by the Institute for Astronomy of the Univ. of Hawaii. The largest telescopes are the 33-ft (10-m) W. M. Keck telescopes (Keck I and II), each consisting of an array of 36 segmented mirrors; a computer adjusts each small mirror many times per second so that a single image is formed of the object under study.

Keck I began observations in 1993, Keck II in 1996. The Subaru telescope, featuring a 327-in. (8.3-m) one-piece mirror, was formerly called the Japanese National Large Telescope. The 320-in. (8.1-m) Gemini telescope is one of an identical pair, the other being constructed atop  Chile’s  Cerro Pachon. Together they will provide complete unobstructed optical and infrared coverage of both the northern and southern skies. Other instruments include the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope (142 in./3.6 m), the United Kingdom Infrared telescope (150 in./3.8 m), and the Infrared Telescope Facility (120 in./3 m), as well as two telescopes—the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope—used for observations in the submillimeter portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Also part of the complex is the Hawaii Antenna of the Very Long Baseline Array, which is used for observations in radio astronomy .”

“Mauna Kea Observatories.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2011. Retrieved April 18, 2012 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-MaunaKeaO.html


As you may remember,  NASA launched its final mission to the HST to perform an upgrade before NASA would be closed. During this  mission, the astronauts replaced several key instruments with brand new ones, making it an essentially brand new telescope.  How sad it is that our astronauts will not have this privilege again without the help of some other country.  I will miss the times I ran out into my yard to see the lift off here in Florida.    Nevertheless, scientists, I am certain, will still be working at the observatories like Mauna Kea to find more mysteries to the universe that our Maker has created.

Who was the man that brought so much information to us and for whom the greatest telescope in history was named?  Edwin Hubble  

The Hubble Space Telescope was named after the American astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble (1889–1953), who made some of the most important discoveries in modern astronomy. As an astronomer, Dr. Hubble was a late bloomer. He had promised his father that he would study law instead of science, which he never practiced.  His education took him from the University of Chicago to Queen’s College, Oxford. He was a high school teacher and coach; finally receiving his PhD after he had served in the U. S. Army during World War I.

“In the 1920s, while working at the Mt. Wilson Observatory with the most advanced technology of the time, Dr. Hubble showed that some of the numerous distant, faint clouds of light in the universe were actually entire galaxies—much like our own Milky Way. The realization that the Milky Way is only one of many galaxies forever changed the way astronomers viewed our place in the universe.But perhaps his greatest discovery came in 1929, when Dr. Hubble determined that the farther a galaxy is from Earth, the faster it appears to move away. ”

Below is a video of    The Hubble and  history of the Ultra Deep Field. 

Click to view with sound.

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