clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

SUNRISE AND SUNSET GIVE HUBBLE THE SHAKES

After seven weeks in space, the Hubble telescope still gets the shakes on each of the nearly 15 sunrises and sunsets it encounters a day, and it gets a sudden memory loss in a region known as the South Atlantic Anomaly.

While the problems can't be fixed, engineers are preparing computer commands to counter the effects, Jean Olivier, one of NASA's top telescope engineers, said Monday.The two 40-foot-long solar arrays, which convert sunlight into electricity, set up vibration in the telescope each time it passes from day to night and from night to day. The problem has persisted since the Hubble was put into orbit on April 25.

"This solar array dynamics is beginning to rear its head as a limiting factor in our ability to effectively carry this work out," Olivier said. The telescope circles the Earth at an altitude of 281 miles every 97 minutes - 14.8 times a day.