UW Today

July 7, 2011

Hubble makes one millionth science observation

News and Information

Earlier this week, NASAs Hubble Space Telescope logged its one millionth science observation during a search for water in an exoplanets atmosphere 1,000 light years away.

Hubble Space Telescope

Hubble Space TelescopeNASA

“The Hubble Space Telescope was designed to study the universe on the largest scales,” said Eric Agol, University of Washington assistant professor of astronomy, who conducts theoretical interpretation of data from the Hubble. “It is a testament to its versatility and durability that after two decades of operation it is being used to look for water vapor in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a relatively nearby star in our galaxy.”

The Hubble has been operating for 21 years. Well known for its stunning imagery of the cosmos, the millionth observation is a spectroscopic measurement, where light is divided into its component colors. These color patterns can reveal the chemical composition of cosmic sources, according to a NASA news release.