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SPY IN THE SKY Space Telescopes send sharpest images of the Universe Numerous secrets are hidden in the infinite depth of space around us. Space telescopes give humanity the clearest view of the universe and help us learn more and more about the mysteries of the universe. Space Telescopes are floating hundreds or thousands of kilometers above the Earth to observe the X-rays, Gama rays and Ultra rays coming from distant stars and galaxies. Since there is no hindrance of atmosphere which blocks such rays, the space telescopes are able to get a clearer view of the universe. NASA's series of four large, powerful space-based telescopes - The Hubble Space Telescope, The Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, The Chandra X-ray Observatory and The Spitzer Space Telescope - are called as Great Observatories. Each of the Great Observatories has made a substantial contribution to astronomy. Of these satellites, only the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory is not currently operating. NASA is working on a new project, The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to be launched in 2018. JWST will complement and extend the discoveries of the Great Observatories.

Space telescopes give humanity the clearest view of the universe and help us learn more and more about the mysteries of the universe.


Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Hubble Space Telescope is the world's first space-based optical telescope. It was taken to the orbit by the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990 and still remains in operation. It is named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble. It observes the visible light rays, near ultraviolet rays and near infrared rays. Hubble is the only telescope designed to be serviced in space by astronauts. Five missions repaired and upgraded systems on the telescope It has taken extremely sharp images ever made of the universe's most distant objects. Many Hubble observations have led to breakthroughs in astrophysics, such as accurately determining the rate of expansion of the universe. It was built by the United States space agency NASA.

Quick Facts Launch: April 24, 1990 Distance from Earth: 569 km Length: 13.2 m Weight: 11,110 kg Speed: 17,500 mph (28,000 kph)


The Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory (CGRO) Gamma rays come from some of the most mysterious and powerful objects in the universe: black holes, quasars, supernovae, neutron stars. In 1991, NASA launched the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the heaviest space telescope through space shuttle Atlantis. It studied the powerful and most dangerous gamma rays of the space. The telescope broke apart and burned up above the Pacific Ocean in 2000. But it contributed a lot. The telescope helped astronomers establish that huge, sudden blasts of energy, called “gamma-ray bursts,� were coming from outside our galaxy.

Quick Facts Launch: April 5, 1991 Distance from Earth: 450 km Weight: 16329.0 kg


Chandra X-ray Observatory (CXO) The Chandra X-ray Observatory is the world’s most powerful X-ray telescope. It was launched in 1999 aboard the space shuttle Columbia. The main mission of Chandra X-ray Observatory was to study the structure and evolution of our universe. Chandra is sensitive to X-ray sources 100 times faster than any previous X-ray telescope.

Quick Facts Launch: July 23, 1999 Distance from Earth: 133,000 km Weight: 4,790 kg


Spitzer Space Telescope

The Spitzer Space Telescope (SST) is an infrared space observatory. It was launched in 2003 aboard a Delta II rocket. The Spitzer Space Telescope






observatory capable of studying objects ranging from our Solar System to the distant reaches of the Universe.

Quick Facts Launch: August 25, 2003 Distance from Earth: 568 km Weight: 950 kg


The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) The James Webb Space Telescope is a project under design. It is a large, infraredoptimized space telescope. It will complement and extend the discoveries of the Great Observatories, with improved sensitivity. It is planned to be launched in 2018. Webb will peer through dusty clouds to see stars forming planetary systems. Webb will reside in an orbit about 1.5 million km from the Earth.

Quick Facts Planned Launch: 2018 Distance from Earth: 1.5 million km Weight: 6,330 km