Hubble took an unforgettable image of a rare blue star who has struggled for a lifetime. Therefore, the most important space telescope of our time warns that its days have also been numbered.
Hubble (Hubble) 31 years. The orbiting telescope is very old. Compared to the initial forecast, his life expectancy has exceeded ten years. However, he can still see images of extraordinary objects that have been born and died before the eyes of the Cyclops.
The picture above was just sent by Hubble, and it shows the life-and-death struggle of a famous star. AG Carinae is one of the brightest stars in our Milky Way galaxy. It is engaged in a tug of war between gravity and radiation to prevent self-destruction. In the convulsive struggle for life, the amount of material ejected into space is about ten times the mass of our sun.
The age at which Hubble entered “safe mode”
In early March, NASA announced the Hubble Space Telescope Has entered Safe mode one more time, “Due to a bug in the onboard software”.
The telescope system was not affected, but scientific operations were suspended until the problem could be solved from the earth. This news shocked scientists and millions of Hubble enthusiasts (including those of QUO.es), alerting them to the vital signs of the world’s most famous telescope. A few days later, Hubble returned to work.
This Safe mode This means that the telescope stops pointing at the target and collecting data, just to ensure that its solar panels continue to remain open.Last time Hubble entered Safe mode That was in 2018, and a problem was discovered in two of its gyroscopes (these gyroscopes are used to maintain the direction of the orbit). The telescope was back online within three weeks without any lingering problems.
But the news in March once again reminded Hubble of his age! Its thirty-year service has exceeded any life expectancy, and the telescope is in its final stages.
The last time the space shuttle astronauts directly inspected the aging hardware of the Hubble Telescope was in 2009, when they estimated that it could last until around 2016. However, the life span of NASA’s telescope has exceeded all expectations.
The latest estimate will extend its research life to 2026.
His 31st birthday photo: the dying blue star
To celebrate Hubble’s 31st birthday, astronomers ordered it to aim at one of the brightest stars in the Milky Way, surrounded by a halo of hot gas and dust.
The reason why Stellar conducts the light show is that it “lives on the edge.” AG Carinae is engaged in a tug of war between gravity and radiation to prevent self-destruction.
The expansion layer of gas and dust surrounding the star is about five light-years wide, equal to the distance from here to the nearest star outside the sun, Proxima Centauri.
Huge buildings were created by one or more large-scale eruptions about 10,000 years ago. The outer layer of the star flies into space. The discharged material is about 10 times the mass of our sun.
These bursts are typical of the rare stellar race called the “luminous blue” variable. They are stars who live fast and die. They are one of the most massive and brightest stars known.
Their life span is only a few million years, while our solar life span is only 10 billion years.
What is a blue trailing star?
These giants are very different from ordinary stars, but are as rich as our sun. In fact, the mass of AG Carinae is estimated to be 70 times that of the sun and has the dazzling light of one million suns.
With the spectacular images of AG Carinae, we celebrated his 31st birthday with Hubble.
When Hubble can no longer show up: Who will replace him?
Currently, there is no plan for a new mission. If a catastrophic failure occurs and Hubble is completely idle, it is hard to imagine that NASA will give the green light to the maintenance mission of the observatory for more than three decades.
So: what will replace Hubble in retirement?
Other countries are planning on-orbit missions to restore the visible and ultraviolet spectroscopy research currently underway by the Hubble Telescope.
India’s Astrosat Space Telescope can already perform ultraviolet observations from space, but its aperture is much smaller than that of the Hubble Telescope.
China plans to launch its space-seeking space telescope in 2024, and The country’s media affirmed It will observe an area of space 300 times larger than Hubble.
Hubble’s true successor may be the large ultraviolet optical infrared measuring instrument space telescope or LUVOIR proposed by NASA Make observations. But if you can get funding, LUVOIR will not be launched until 2039 at the earliest.
The Hubble Telescope may remain active until it can truly replace it, but when the Hubble Telescope finally closes its eyes, most astronomers are prepared for the massive lack of information.
- NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990, and made more than 1.5 million observations of approximately 48,000 celestial bodies.
- In its 31-year life, the telescope has accumulated more than 181,000 orbits on our planet, totaling more than 4.5 billion miles.
- Observations from the Hubble Telescope have produced more than 169 terabytes of data, which can be used by researchers in present and future generations.
- The biggest show in Hubble history Youth Star UV Heritage Library as the basic standard , Is studying the ultraviolet light emitted by young stars and how they affect the surrounding environment.
- At startup James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Later this year, the merger of these two observatories could help scientists identify An earth-like world that is truly livable to sustain life.
- JWST is usually proposed as a successor to Hubble, but this is not entirely true.Hubble can observe the universe in the wavelength range of the visible spectrum and the ultraviolet spectrum, and JWST focuses on infrared, Which helps us study early universe objects and discover chemical reactions in other worlds.
You may be interested:
What happened in the universe on your birthday?Hubble has photos