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Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Pretty much everybody in the world has heard of the Hubble Space Telescope. Launched in 1990, it cost $2.1 billion. Well worth the expense, since it has become the most productive scientific instrument ever constructed, traveling over 3 billion miles and making over 1.2 million observations.
But it's replacement is already on the way.
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Today's Random Fact:
The successor to the Hubble Space Telescope is the James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled to be launched in 2018 for an estimated $8.3 billion. It will observe in infrared and will have a 21.3-foot mirror, which will allow for extremely high resolution to cosmic images.
The word "telescope" is from the Greek tele, meaning 'far,' and skopein, meaning 'to look or see.' It was coined in 1611 by the Greek mathematician Giovanni Demisiani.
Galileo did not invent the telescope; he was, however, the first to methodically use it to peer into the night sky. Dutch eyeglass maker Hans Lippershey (1570-1619) actually invented the optical telescope (telescopes that see visible light) in 1608.
With the help of his telescope, Galileo discovered Jupiter's satellites and the craters on Earth's moon. He also used his telescope to look at the sun, which may have led to his blindness later in life.