Astronomers shut down science operations, telescope goes into safe mode when Hubble goes blind in space

Astronomers shut down science operations, telescope goes into safe mode when Hubble goes blind in space

A few days after celebrating the 34th anniversary of its launch from Earth, the Hubble telescope was placed in safe mode and sent into the cold depths of space.

The flying observatory entered safe mode on April 23 because to an ongoing gyroscope (gyro) issue, and NASA is currently trying to fix the glitch. However, according to the US space agency, the observatory is in fine condition and all of the telescope’s components are steady.

Hubble’s gyroscopes measure the telescope’s turn rates and are a component of the mechanism that establishes the telescope’s direction of orientation. The telescope entered safe mode automatically because one of its three gyroscopes was giving false readings.

The same gyroscope also caused the telescope to go into safe mode in November 2023, so this is not the first time it has happened. In order to find acceptable responses, the team is now at work. One gyro can be used for rocket operations, and the other gyro can be kept in reserve, if needed, according to NASA.

In 2009, on the fifth and last space shuttle servicing flight, Hubble had six gyroscopes fitted in total. To this day, three of those six are still in use. Hubble employs three gyros to maximize efficiency, but if necessary, it can continue to conduct scientific observations with just one gyro, according to the US space agency.

“We anticipate Hubble will continue making groundbreaking discoveries, working with other observatories, such as the agency’s James Webb Space Telescope, throughout this decade and possibly into the next,” Nasa stated in a statement.

In honor of the 34th anniversary of the Hubble telescope, astronomers took a new picture of the Little Dumbbell Nebula, better known as Messier 76, which is 3,400 light-years away.

The telescope is an essential part of modern science, having produced more than 1.6 million observations and 44,000 scientific publications.

Topics #Astronomers #Earth #Galaxy #Hubble #Hubble Telescope #NASA #news #Solar System #space #Telescope #Universe #USA

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