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  • National Aeronautics andSpace Administration


    National Aeronautics and Space Administration

    DescriptionThe Hubble: 20 Years of Discovery poster activity

    is designed to encourage students to use their curiosity, wonder, and interests to explore a topic related to the Hubble Mission. The activity, entitled the Hubble Team Research Activity, uses the poster as a tool for students to formulate research questions about the Hubble Space Telescope and its 20-year mission of space exploration. Students select one of the six Hubble themes presented on the panels below to research while working in coop-erative groups. The activity requires students to generate relevant and meaningful research questions, search for new insights about the Hubble theme of their choice, and identify additional questions for further exploration. This investigative process helps students develop critical think-ing skills.

    Grade Level Grade Level: Middle school, grades 68.

    Learning OutcomesAfter completing this team research activity, students

    will be able to:


    communicate findings.

    and accurate way.


    Prerequisites Prior to completing this team research activity, stu-

    dents should be able to:

    MisconceptionsEducators should be aware of the following common

    misconception about the Hubble Space Telescope and determine if students believe it. Students may think that Hubble can observe distant celestial objects because the


    celestial objects because it is above Earths atmosphere, which distorts our view of objects in space.

    VocabularyHubble Space Telescope: An orbiting telescope that

    collects light from celestial objects in visible, near-ultra-violet, and near-infrared wavelengths. The telescopes

    Earth about every 97 minutes and is powered by sun-light collected with its two solar arrays.

    Astronomer: A scientist who studies the universe and the celestial bodies residing in it, including their composition, history, location, and motion. Many of the

    astronomers. Astronomers from all over the world use the Hubble Space Telescope.

    Materials Hubble: 20 Years of Discovery poster


    Instructions for the TeacherPreparation

    Bookmark or identify as favorites the following websites that provide reading materials to support student research:

    and text arranged by year:

    Hubble Team Research Activity

  • National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGoddard Space Flight Center8800 Greenbelt RoadGreenbelt, Maryland 20771www.nasa.govNP-2010-03-129-GSFC


    resource for engaging your students in a team research activity. Before beginning the activity, identify your students misconceptions about the Hubble Space Tele-scope by having them write down anything they know

    students written ideas and compile a comprehensive list of misconceptions to discuss with the class. You may choose to have students share their ideas with each other before collecting their papers.

    Ask students to observe the images on the front of the poster and read the text for the six themes below. Then tell your students to select one theme of interest and to write as many questions as they can about their theme. Group students into research teams based upon common themes of interest. Research teams should consist of two to four students, depending on class

    -tions and identify a final set of questions that the team will investigate as a group. These questions should be meaningful and relevant. Now that the students have developed a set of team research questions, they should develop a research plan and determine a presentation format for sharing their findings. Presentations can be in the form of a skit, a story, an illustrated essay, a Power-Point show, a video, a collage, or a written reportany method that conveys their understanding of the theme. Presentations should include the teams research ques-

    -tion, the presentation should include any new questions formulated by the team while conducting their research.

    Preparation section.

    Instructions for the Student Study the images on the front of the poster and read

    the information contained in the six Hubble-themed panels below. Select one Hubble theme that you are most interested in and write down as many questions as you can about it. You will then share your questions with other students in a research team. Work with your team to develop one set of questions that you will research as a group. Then work with your team to develop a plan for conducting your research and presenting your findings.

    Your teams presentation can be in the form of a skit, a story, an illustrated essay, a PowerPoint show, a video, a collage, a written report, or whatever format assigned by your teacher. Your presentation should include your teams research questions and any new questions that you have as a result of your investigation. Your teacher will provide your team with websites to use for your research.

    Education StandardsMcREL Language Arts

    Standard 7. understand and interpret a variety of informational texts.

    -riety of informational texts (e.g., electronic texts; textbooks; biographical sketches; directions; essays; primary source his-torical documents, including letters and diaries; print media,

    consumer, workplace, and public documents, including cata-logs, technical directions, procedures, and bus routes).

    Standard 4. Gathers and uses information for research purposes.


    dictionaries, schedules, journals, surveys, globes, atlases, almanacs, websites, databases, podcasts).

    sources in systematic ways (e.g., time lines, outlines, notes, graphic representations).

    6. Makes oral presentations to the class (e.g., uses

    includes preview, introduction, body, transitions, conclu-sion; uses a clear point of view; uses evidence and argu-ments to support opinions; uses visual media).

    A downloadable pdf of this poster can be found online at the Amazing Space website, .

    Hubble Team Research Activity (continued)

  • A. The Butterfly Nebula. An ordinary star like our Sun created this delicate-looking butterfly by ejecting its outer layers of gas. The dying star is now unleashing a stream of ultraviolet radiation that is making the ejected material glow.B. The Light Echo, V838 Monocerotis. This image shows an expanding halo of light, called a light echo, around a distant red supergiant star. A light echo occurs when a pulse of light from a stellar outburst travels to previously ejected layers of gas and dust. The light is then reflected off the dust toward Earth.

    C. The Eagle Nebula (M16). These eerie, dark, pillar-like structures are actually columns of cool hydrogen gas and dust that are incubators for new stars. They are part of the Eagle Nebula, a nearby star-forming region 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Serpens.

    D. NGC 1300. This image shows a classic example of a barred-spiral galaxy. A barred spiral has a straight bar of stars through its center that extends to the spiral arms.

    E. Saturn. This image shows an aurora on the planet Saturn. Auroras are electrical storms that occur near a planets magnetic poles. Earths auroras last for a few hours, but Saturns auroras can last for days.

    F. The Sombrero Galaxy. A nearly edge-on spiral galaxy is shown in this view, revealing dark dust lanes and a glowing central bulge of stars.

    G. NGC 346. Hubble found more than 2,000 infant stars embedded in this nebula, located in the Small Magellanic


    Hubble Celebrates20 Years of Discovery







  • D EPLOYED April 25, 1990, from the space shuttle Discovery, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is one of the largest and most complex satellites ever built. Hubbles deployment was the crowning achievement of more than 20 years of research by NASA and other scientists. The telescope is named for American astronomer Edwin P. Hubble, who first discovered that countless island cities of stars and galaxies dwell far beyond our Milky Way Galaxy.

    NASA, however, didnt launch the telescope into space to get closer to the stars. Hubble barely skims Earths at-mosphere, orbiting just 350 miles (564 kilometers) above our planet. The nearest star, our Sun, is 266,000 times farther away.

    Hubble is in space because it can see the universe more clearly than we can from Earth. Looking at the heavens through a ground-based telescope is like trying to identify someone at poolside from the bottom of a swimming pool. Our vision is blurred because we live at the bottom of Earths atmosphere, an ocean of air that smears and scatters starlight. Thats why stars twinkle.

    HST completes an orbit around Earth about every 97 minutes, moving at the speed of about five miles per sec-ond (8 kilometers per second) fast enough to travel across the United States in about 10 minutes.

    The Hubble telescope is as long as a school bus, 43.5 feet (13.2 meters), and looks like a five-story tower of stacked silver canisters. Each canister houses important

    Hubble Space Telescope

    telescope equipment: the focusing mirrors, computers, cameras, spectrographs, and pointing and control mecha-nisms. Extending from the telescope are solar panels for generating electricity and antennas for communicating with operators on the ground.

    Hubbles computers, pointing systems, and imaging instruments need electricity to operate. The telescope sports 25-foot (7.6-meter)long solar arrays that convert sunlight directly into electricity. Some of the energy produced is stored in onboard batteries that keep the telescope running when its in Earths shadow and does not receive sunlight.

    HST is a type of telescope known as a Cassegrain re-flector. The 12-ton telescope collects faint starlight with an 8-foot (2.4-meter)diameter mirror. The mirror tucked inside a long, hollow tube that blocks the glare from the Sun, Earth, and moon is slightly curved to focus and magnify light. Once the mirror captures the light, Hubbles science instruments work together or individually to make the observation. Each instrument is designed to examine the universe in a different way.

    The information sent back to Earth by Hubble is stored on optical computer disks, similar to CDs. Hubble gener-ates enough data every month to fill the storage space in your home computer. The constantly growing collection of Hubble pictures and data is a unique scientific re-source for current and future astronomers.

    Visit for more information about the Hubble Space Telescope and its discoveries.

  • A S A YOUNG BOY, American astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble read tales of traveling to undersea cities, journeying to the center of the Earth, and trekking to the remote mountains of South Africa. These stories by adventure novelists Jules Verne and H. Rider Haggard stoked young Hubbles imagination of faraway places. He fulfilled those childhood dreams as an astronomer, exploring distant galaxies with a telescope

    astronomy.But Hubble (18891953) didnt settle immediately on

    the astronomy profession. He studied law as a Rhodes

    of exploring the stars was greater than his attraction to

    -ond rate or third rate, it was astronomy that mattered, Hubble said.

    and completed his doctoral thesis in 1917. After serving

    patches of luminous fog or nebulae the Greek word for clouds in the night sky. Hubble and other astron-

    know what they were.

    largest telescope of its day Hubble peered beyond our Milky Way Galaxy to study an object known then as the Andromeda nebula. He discovered special stars on the outskirts of the nebula and determined their

    Edwin Hubble Expandsthe Universe

    distance from Earth. These special stars, called variable stars, allowed Hubble to show that the distance to the nebula was so great that it had to be outside the Milky Way Galaxy. The Andromeda nebula, therefore, was a separate galaxy much like our own. The discovery of the Andromeda Galaxy helped change our understanding of the universe by proving the existence of other galaxies.

    Hubble also devised the classification system for galax--

    mers still use today. He also obtained extensive evidence that the laws of physics outside our galaxy are the same as on Earth, verifying the principle of the uniformity of nature, he said.

    As Hubble continued his study, he made another

    he determined that the more distant the galaxy is from Earth, the faster it appears to move away. Known as Hubbles Law, this discovery is the foundation of the Big Bang theory. The theory says that the universe began after a huge cosmic explosion and has been expanding ever since. Hubbles discovery is considered one of the greatest triumphs of 20th century astronomy.

    Albert Einstein could have foretold Hubbles dis-covery in 1917 when he applied his newly developed General Theory of Relativity to the universe. His theory that space is curved by gravity predicted that the universe could not be static but had to expand or con-tract. Einstein found this prediction so unbelievable that he modified his original theory to avoid the problem.

    that changing the theory was the biggest blunder of my life.

  • Hubbles Top ScienceDiscoveries

    W HEN GALILEO used his homemade telescope 400 years ago to view mountains on the Moon, satellites circling Jupiter, and myriad stars in our Milky Way Galaxy, he launched a revolution that changed our view of an Earth-centered universe.

    The launch of NASAs Hubble Space Telescope aboard the space shuttle Discovery 20 years ago initiated another revolution in astronomy. For the first time, a large telescope that sees in visible light began orbiting above Earths distorting atmosphere, which blurs

    anticipated great discoveries from Hubble. The telescope has delivered as promised and continues serving up new discoveries. Here are some of Hubbles top science discoveries.

    Galaxies from the Ground UpHubbles surveys of deep space showed that the universe

    was different long ago, providing evidence that galaxies grew over time through mergers with other galaxies to become the giant galaxies we see today. The deep views also revealed that the early universe was a fertile breed-ing ground for stars. Observations showed that the uni-verse made a significant portion of its stars in a torrential firestorm of star birth that abruptly lit up the pitch-dark heavens less than a billion years after the Big Bang. Though stars continue to form in galaxies today, the star-birth rate is lower than it was a billion years ago.

    An Accelerating UniverseBy witnessing bursts of light from faraway exploding

    stars, Hubble provided important supporting evidence for the existence of a mysterious dark energy that makes up most of the energy in the universe. This dark energy causes a repulsive force that works against gravity. Hubble observations showed that dark energy shoves galaxies away from each other at ever-increasing speeds, making the universe expand at an accelerating pace.

    How Old Is the Universe?Hubble observations allowed astronomers to calculate a

    more precise age for the universe. The method relied on determining the expansion rate of the universe, a value called the Hubble constant, by measuring the distances to

    astronomers calculated that the universe is about 13.7 billion years old.

    Monster Black Holes Are EverywhereHubble probed the dense, central regions of galaxies and

    provided decisive evidence that supermassive black holes live in the centers of almost all large galaxies. Black holes cannot be observed directly, but Hubble helped prove their existence by measuring the speed of stars and gas whirling around galactic cores. The telescope also showed that the black holes mass depends on the mass of its host galaxys central bulge of stars. The bigger the stellar bulge, the more massive the black hole. This close relationship means that black holes may have evolved with their host galaxies.

    Worlds beyond Our SunAt the time of Hubbles launch in 1990, astronomers

    had not found a single planet outside our solar system. Now there are hundreds of so-called extrasolar planets, most of them discovered by ground-based telescopes. But Hubble has made some unique contributions to the planet hunt. The telescope made the first measurements of the chemical makeup of an extrasolar planets atmo-sphere, detecting carbon dioxide, methane, water, and so-dium. These measurements take an important step in the search for extraterrestrial life by looking for the chemical signatures for life in a planets atmosphere.

    Hubble also made the first visible-light image of an ex-

    Earth-orbiting observatory conducted the deepest survey for extrasolar planets in our Milky Way Galaxys central bulge of stars, finding 16 potential planets.

  • REGULAR MAINTENANCE VISITS to the Hubble Space Telescope keep the Earth-orbiting observatory well-equipped to view the universe. NASA designed the telescope for servicing in space. Earthbound telescopes receive routine checkups to ensure they are functioning properly, and sometimes new science instruments are installed when advances in technology occur. That is why astronauts have visited Hubble five times since its launch in 1990, replacing older equipment, such as gyroscopes and electronic boxes, and adding state-of-the-art science instruments. The science instruments are the astronomers eyes to the universe.

    The first servicing mission, launched in December 1993, provided an opportunity to conduct planned main-tenance on the telescope. The missions main objective was to install two devices to fix Hubbles vision problem. Because Hubbles primary mirror was incorrectly shaped, the telescope could not focus all the light from an ob-

    around objects it observed.The astronauts installed the Wide Field and Planetary

    -scope Axial Replacement, which were designed to correct the flaw in Hubbles primary mirror.

    The second servicing mission, launched in February 1997, greatly improved Hubbles productivity. The instal-lation of new instruments added near-infrared imaging and ultraviolet spectroscopy, allowing Hubble to sample the atmospheres of planets outside our solar system and to probe the most distant reaches of the universe.

    Multi-object Spectrometer. The replacement of failed or degraded spacecraft components increased the efficiency and performance of the telescope.

    NASA decided to split the next Hubble visit, Servicing Mission 3, into two parts, Servicing Mission 3A and

    Service Calls Make Hubble Even Better

    Servicing Mission 3B. What was originally conceived as a mission of preventive maintenance turned more urgent on November 13, 1999, when the fourth of six gyroscopes failed, and Hubble temporarily closed its eyes on the universe. One month later, astronauts travelled to Hubble and replaced all six gyroscopes, a transmitter, and one of three Fine Guidance Sensors, which allow fine pointing and keep Hubble stable during observations.

    Servicing Mission 3B was launched in March 2002. The astronauts principal task was to install the Advanced

    -bled Hubbles field of view, collecting data 10 times faster

    Astronauts also installed a new cooling system for the telescopes infrared camera.

    During Servicing Mission 4, in May 2009, astronauts boosted Hubbles scientific power and made sure the telescope would continue to work for years to come. Astronauts installed two state-of-the-art science instru-

    batteries, six gyroscopes, a Fine Guidance Sensor, and

    greatly improves Hubbles ability to image large and dis-tant objects, such as galaxies and clusters of galaxies, as well as planets in our solar system.

    -tant objects. The new instrument allows Hubble to study galaxy formation and the births of stars and planetary systems.

    Helping astronomers solve many of the universes mysteries is nothing new for Hubble. With its sharp vi-sion, Hubble has brought the wonders of the universe to millions of homes worldwide. The servicing missions will help keep Hubble operational until at least 2013.

  • Back on Earth

    FOR THE 20 YEARS (19902010) that NASAs Hubble Space Telescope has been circling Earth and taking images that changed our view of the universe, back on our planet a few changes were taking place, too. Here are some of them.

    broke up, Hong Kong regained its sovereignty from Great -


    be about 4.4 million years old, were uncovered in Kenya, Africa. Footprints of a 350,000-year-old upright-walking

    archaeologists uncovered a 2,100-year-old melon in Japan.While Hubble has been in space, we saw the dawn of

    a new millennium and a revolution in digital technology. The introduction of the World Wide Web greatly expanded

    jumped from just a few percent to more than 70 percent.

    born. Facebook, Wikipedia, and YouTube became popular Web destinations.

    We also witnessed the rise of the iPod, DVDs, digital cam-eras, and the iMac computer. High-definition, big-screen televisions became popular, allowing many families to add home theaters to watch movies and sporting events.

    world. On television, SpongeBob SquarePants made

    television burst onto the scene, producing shows such

    revolutionary music downloading system, debuted.Video game systems, such as Super Nintendo

    Entertainment System, PlayStation, and Wii, became wildly popular. Pokemon also was first introduced into

    comic strip was published, and the first color photograph appeared on the front page of the New York Times. Stephen Hawkings A Brief History of Time became the longest-running book on the best sellers list in Englands The Sunday Times.

    broke the all-time Major League Baseball record for consecutive games played. Bicycle racer Lance Armstrong broke another record, winning seven consecutive Tour de France competitions. Michael Jordan retired from the National Basketball League and swimmer Michael Phelps won eight gold medals in a single Olympics, surpassing

    Many of the worlds biggest and largest debuted, including the largest burrito ever created (1,126 pounds); the worlds largest Burger King, which opened

    Minnesotas Mall of America; and the worlds tallest roller coaster, which opened in New Jersey.