Hubble Space Telescope preassembly.
The Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope is a
large machine. It is about 44 feet (13.1 meters) in length, roughly
the same size as a school bus. The Hubble is heavy; it weighs 12 tons
(11,600 kilograms). The Hubble looks like a fat silver tube, almost
like a number of cans stacked on top of each other. Forty foot long solar
power panels sprout form each side of the telescope. These provide
all the power the Hubble needs to operate.
Inside, the Hubble contains one
large mirror which 8 feet (2.4 meters) in diameter. When the Hubble is
aimed at an astronomical object, such as a galaxy, radiation from the
galaxy shine into the telescope and onto the mirror. From here the
radiation is analyzed by several scientific instruments.
None of these instruments take
pictures like the photographic cameras we are used to. Instead, they
take digital images, which are stored as files in a computer and then
transmitted to Earth. No person ever really "looks through"
the Hubble Space Telescope.