Artist's impresion of the Hubble Telescope (HST) with cut-away side section. The HST was designed to see seven times further into space than had been posible before, without the distortion caused by the Earth's atmosphere. It is a reflecting telescope and its main mirror has a diameter of 2.5 metres. Work began in 1977 and the HST was finally launched by the Space Shuttle Discovery on 24th April 1990. Problems with its giant mirror meant that it did not initially work as well as expected. Corrective optics were installed in 1993, greatly improving the telescope's performance. This enabled the HST to produce images showing the Universe in unprecedented detail, and to photograph objects as distant as 13 billion light years away.
© National Aeronautics & Space Administration / Science & Society