100,000, or, Around the World in 6,684 Days

Aug 10, 2008 9:56pm

Monday morning at 7:42 a.m. EDT marked the turning of the odometer for the Hubble telescope.  It’s now orbited the earth 100,000 times. That would be 2.72 billion miles traveled (at about 17,500 miles an hour, at an altitude of 380 miles) since it was launched by the shuttle Discovery in 1990.  The Space Telescope Science Institute, which runs it, likes to point out that that’s the equivalent of 5,700 round trips to the moon — or, if you’d like to look at it another way, it’s the distance driven by all the vehicles in the U.S every three hours. According to the institute, "The telescope is able to lock onto a target without deviating more than 7/1000th of an arcsecond, or about the width of a human hair seen at a distance of 1 mile. Pointing the Hubble Space Telescope and locking onto distant celestial targets is like holding a laser light steady on a dime that is 200 miles away." Hubblesite’s gallery has a slide show with no fewer than 1,165 images in it; find it HERE if you have the time.  Enjoy the view.

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