Fifteen Years of Astounding
Images from Hubble
April 12, 2006
Dr. H. John Wood
Hubble Space Telescope
Optics Lead Engineer
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Orbiting high above the turbulence of the earth’s atmosphere, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is providing breathtaking views of astronomical objects never before seen in such detail. The steady images allow this medium-size telescope to reach the faintest galaxies ever seen by mankind. Some of these galaxies are seen as early as 2 billion years after the Big Bang in a 13.7 billion year old universe. HST has allowed dramatic advances in all fields of Astronomy and Astrophysics since its launch in April 1990. Servicing by the Space Shuttle has allowed correction of the optics and installation of new state-of-the-art instruments over the 15 years the telescope has been in orbit.
Sixty years ago Joe Woods in Baltimore began observing with his new 12-inch Cassegrain telescope. The brass clock drive kept the telescope tracking at the sidereal rate. The rotating dome was a curiosity for the mail man because the slit was in a different position every morning. Joe invited a neighbor, me, 7-year-old Johnny Wood, to come look at the moon, Mars and nebulae. Need I say that I was enthralled by the beauty of the objects we could see? So enthralled was I that I made a life commitment to study the stars.
Now, after 15 years of successful operations in space, the HST has provided me with another epiphany: the essence or meaning of objects in the sky. A selection of some of the most beautiful images will demonstrate the power and utility of the HST.
Dr. H. John Wood is an astronomer and
serves as an optical engineer for the Optics Branch at NASA’s Goddard
Space Flight Center. Since June 1990, he has been Optics Lead Engineer
on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Project. He led the team that
successfully determined the optical prescription of HST while on orbit.
He then led NASA's effort to develop and test the corrective optics for
HST. In addition to his work on Hubble, he currently serves as Science
Liaison in the Instrument Synthesis & Analysis Laboratory for new Earth
Science and Space Science instrument engineering design at Goddard.
H. John Wood
NASA/GSFC, Code 551
Greenbelt, MD 20771
<< Back to STSS06 Schedule Page >>