Hubble Space Telescope

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Hubble Space Telescope Blog Image


Recently, astronomers used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to directly measure the mass of a single, isolated white dwarf star.

Why in news?

  • The Hubble Space Telescope measured the mass of a white dwarf designated LAWD 37, which burned out over 1 billion years ago. 
  • In the work, scientists used a phenomenon called gravitational lensing.

 What is Gravitational lensing?

  • It was first predicted in 1915 by Albert Einstein which involves the bending of light by objects of great mass.
  • A gravitational lens can occur when a huge amount of matter, like a cluster of galaxies, creates a gravitational field that distorts and magnifies the light from distant galaxies that are behind it but in the same line of sight. 
  • The effect allows researchers to study the details of early galaxies too far away to be seen otherwise with even the most powerful space telescopes. 

Key facts about the Hubble telescope

  • It is named in honour of the trailblazing astronomer Edwin Hubble which was launched by  NASA.
  • It is a large, space-based observatory, which has revolutionized astronomy since its launch and deployment by the space shuttle Discovery in 1990.
  • Hubble’s domain extends from the ultraviolet through the visible (which our eyes see) and into the near infrared.
  • It is one of NASA's Great Observatories Programs. The other missions in the program include the visible-light Spitzer Space Telescope, Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (CGRO), and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory (CXO).


Q1) What is the Chandra X-Ray Observatory?

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory is a telescope specially designed to detect X-ray emissions from very hot regions of the Universe such as exploded stars, clusters of galaxies, and matter around black holes

Source: NASA’s Hubble telescope and gravitational lensing aid astronomers in measuring the mass of a dwarf star