NASA/ESA/STScl’s image of the Southern Crab Nebula Hen 2-104.
NASA/ESA/STScl’s image of the Southern Crab Nebula Hen 2-104.

Cosmic Queries – Hubble Space Telescope

The Southern Crab Nebula, officially known as Hen 2-104. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and STScI.
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About This Episode

It was only supposed to last 3-5 years and it’s lasted 30 years. On this episode of StarTalk Radio, we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope! Neil deGrasse Tyson is joined in-studio by comic co-host Chuck Nice and Jennifer Wiseman, PhD, astrophysicist and senior project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope. 

You’ll learn how proposals are selected to receive telescope time. Jennifer tells us about “director discretionary time” which allows the director of the Space Telescope Science Institute to allot time for ideas and research for larger projects or projects that might not be otherwise considered in the general selection process. Jennifer tells us about an instance when director discretionary time allowed for Hubble to be pointed at “nowhere” – resulting in the Hubble Deep Field image, one of the most iconic images Hubble has ever taken. Jennifer also explains how long an idea can take from proposal to final publication.

You’ll learn about the Hubble science team’s massive data archive that’s open for everyone. Explore some of Hubble’s most interesting discoveries. Discover more about Hubble’s work on finding supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies. We also explore the work researching the expansion of the universe. 

We ponder what the most important fields of discovery will be over the next decade. You’ll find out about Hubble’s collaborative work alongside the Juno probe to Jupiter and the New Horizons probe that went to, and past, Pluto. We also discuss the exciting world of exoplanets. Lastly, Jennifer reveals how long she thinks Hubble can stay in orbit and whether the telescope could ever be sold to a private company. All that, plus, Jennifer shares her favorite Hubble discovery over the past 30 years! 

Thanks to our Patrons Alejandra Salinas, Adam Cook, Allen Saakyan, Justin Bird, Lara Jimenez, Bryan Huff, Tolkappiyan Premkumar, Owen Ascari, SJG, and Fawad Razafor supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons and All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

In This Episode

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