Hubble Telescope Gets Back to Work

20110520102252butterfly-f-large_web.jpg
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

Yesterday, NASA celebrated the rejuvenation of the Hubble Space Telescope by releasing the first batch of images to come from the satellite since it was upgraded in May. That’s when astronauts installed two new instruments—the Wide Field Camera 3 and the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph—and repaired two others.

NASA scientists have been calibrating the instruments since then, and they even took an impressive photo of Jupiter’s new black spot, the site of a recent impact, as a test. The upgrade—which gives the 19-year-old Hubble a total of 13 instrument channels—will allow researchers to pursue a wide range of observations, including Kuiper belt objects at the edge of our solar system, infant galaxies from when the universe was less than 500 million years old and the atmospheres of extrasolar planets.

With Hubble’s new lease on life, the telescope promises more years of amazing discoveries, perhaps even more amazing than those that have already come to pass.