40 Introduction

Astronomy Laboratory 9 – The Hubble Space Telescope

Module Introduction

Artist’s concept of the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory in orbit appears as a large main vessel with 4 solar panels on each side.
Artist’s concept of the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory in orbit. Four OAOs were built and launched as a part of the program. [ “Orbiting Astronomical Observatory” by NASA, in the Public Domain ]

Perhaps the best known unmanned spacecraft is the Hubble Space Telescope, HST, launched in 1991 and still fully operational. Even though the HST was not the first space telescope, it is by far the most famous and productive to date. The images returned by the HST are often beyond words. They give astronomers and stargazers a look at the Universe in detail never seen before.

Using the NASA online Space Telescope Science Institute’s (STScI) website, you will explore a number of the Hubble Telescope observations and discoveries to better understand contemporary astronomy. Results from other satellites will also be explored, from planetary orbiters like Cassini (Saturn) to landers and rovers, like Curiosity (Mars). (1)


At the end of this module, students will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast images from various telescopes
  • Describe the advantages of the Hubble Space Telescope
  • Research images and information gained by the Hubble Space Telescope for Galaxies, Nebulae, Star Fields, and Globular Clusters
  • Explain the impact of current developments in telescope design on future space exploration (1)


The material in this module includes content designed to meet the following course outcomes:

  • Explain and apply major concepts in astronomy including planets, satellites, stars, meteors, galaxies, and theories of the universe.
  • Communicate scientific ideas through oral or written assignments.
  • Demonstrate the ability to think critically.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use scientific and quantitative reasoning. (1)

Assigned Readings

Learning Unit 9


  • Hubble Space Telescope Exercise
  • Lab 9 Quiz (1)


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