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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Black Hole Hunter on HST Repaired Today

The Hubble Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph [STIS] instrument is the astonomer-scientist's tool to hunt for major black holes throughout the universe enabling the seperation of light from space into is component colors, like a prism. The spectrograph is designed to pick up the light and color signature of black holes. It also helps astronomers map the motion of gas affected by a black hole's gravitational pull while providing data offer clues to an object's temperature, chemical composition and motion.

The spectrograph, which was installed on Hubble Space Telescope during a 1997 shuttle service mission, suffered a power supply failure in 2004 and has since been in safe mode for five years, NASA said. But the work of astronauts Mike Massimino and Mike Good today is enabling the instrument to resume the hunt for the most interesting and terrifying objects known to be in the universe: black holes from which the gravitation strength is so insentse that light waves do not escape. Nothing is known as to the center of a black hole today. The fix today will enable humanity to learn more.

NASA has a very high confidence that the STIS will go operational after complete functional tests are conducted tonight (Sunday). Overall, mission planners are thus far giving the mission a high 'A' or over 97% for task completion and success. Astronomers are quite pleased with what essentially will be a new telescope with capability far exceeding those in the space telescope's past. Humanity will see better and further than ever before with the unique and publicly cherished orbiting observatory. MORE from NASA-TV.


Astronomy Link List said...

This article has been added to the Astronomy Link List.

Mat said...

Matheuw Forbes: would a black whole be a portal to another galaxies... what if we got a
satellite with some sort of layered shield and sent it down the side... then we could get pitchures of weare it goes and maby some day send a person in it... would it work???

Emily said...

No, it wouldn't work because everything that falls into a black hole gets crushed into an extremely dense pinpoint. Smaller than a pinpoint actually. Anything we sent into a blackhole (which would take about 300,000 lightyears to get there) would become destroyed immediately after it traveled past the event horizon of the black hole.

Anonymous said...

what about worm hole travel? isn't that a suspected form of possible space exploration? At least in theory, I believe....I have also heard that worm holes are very similar to a black hole.

your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Its kinda academic until we make advances in other technologies. Lets say we overcome the tidal force aspect of dropping an object in somehow.

As the other poster mentioned its a long way to where the nearest suspected black hole is. Say we launch one tomorrow. Do you suppose that while it is in route during its long journey that we would develop a means of sending another probe so much faster that it overtakes the "ancient" one before it got there? And if that is a virtual certainty, why bother launching the first one?

And so one day it gets there and drops in. It disappears. How long do we wait before we conclude the experiment failed if we don't hear from it? We really can't with today's knowledge. How would you know it didn't come out intact and start trying to communicate with us from a few billion light years away? (Btw, light-years is distance, years is time.)

Not trying to quash ideas....but this is a ways off seems like.