Number 160 (Story #1), January 14, 1994 by Phillip F. Schewe and Ben Stein|
A REJUVENATED HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE can now do what it was built to do--- glimpse faint objects 12 billion light years away as well as provide unprecedentedly sharp views of nearer objects such as individual stars in certain galaxies. This is essential since to better establish the existence of black holes it is necessary to observe the motions and not just the density of stars near the hypothetical black hole. Also the observation of single Cepheid variable stars in galaxies 50 to 100 million light years away will improve the calculation of astrophysical distances and consequently the determination of the Hubble constant. Hubble scientists spoke at this week's meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Virginia. They recounted the flawless repair mission carried out in December by Space Shuttle astronauts, including the installation of a corrective-optics package for the main mirror and a new wide field planetary camera and showed "before" and "after" pictures of various celestial objects, thus showcasing Hubble's crisp new vision. Optical tests are nearly complete, after which scientific observations will resume.