The Hubble telescope will turn 25 on April 24, 2015. It has been orbiting the earth moving at the speed of about five miles per second, making a complete orbit every 97 minutes, for 25 years. It has taken hundreds of thousands of photos of the universe, literally capturing a frame by frame photo drama of creation, according to author Paul Hutchins.
Hutchins who did four years of research into the discoveries made by the Hubble telescope says, “when you stitch together all the images and data Hubble has collected, what emerges is the Greatest Cinematic Drama in Human History; the creation of an Awe-Inspiring Universe. This drama takes us to the core of our very existence.”
In his award-winning book Hubble Reveals Creation by an Awe-Inspiring Power, Hutchins points out that when Galileo turned his telescope to the night sky in 1609, he set mankind’s imagination ablaze and took him to a unknown world beyond imagination. This newly invented device, as simple as it was, evoked a telescope race, and an insatiable quest to the stars. That race continues today costing billions of dollars, and hundreds of millions of dedicated man hours in searching the night sky seeking answers in an unexplored universe.
With each passing generation of telescope builders, the size and magnification of the telescope grew as did the compulsion to point them skyward. While some were driven by their thirst for fame or prestige, others were propelled by a sheer quest to know what existed out there, in this bold new world.
The telescope had a very humble beginning. It evolved from the spyglass used by sailors to spy on distant ships.This in turn, had evolved from the invention of eyeglasses. Hans Lippershey, in the Netherlands, is generally credited with the earliest recorded design for an optical telescope (a refracting telescope) in 1608, although it is unclear if he actually invented it. A master lens grinder, his work with optical devices grew out of his work as a spectacle maker. One story contends that Lippershey got the idea for his spyglass invention from children playing in his shop. They held two eyeglass lenses up together and discovered they could see the weathervane atop a distant church.
The James Webb telescope is now being constructed to replace Hubble in 2018. Webb will see farther, and unleash a torrent of new discoveries, opening the door to a part of the universe that has just begun to take shape under humanity’s observations. Price tag $8.7 Billion. Stay tuned for part two to the Grandest Photo Drama in human history!