Finding out the origins and processes of space and our astrological past are the fruits of the science of astronomy, which is the study of stars, planets, and space. Cosmology is the study of galaxies and large astronomical structure. These two intrinsically related schools have brought us moon landings, photos of other worlds in our solar system, evidence of planets around other stars and a deeper understanding of who we are and why we are here.
Vimeo user Bliink has made several interesting shorts, debating many popular topics, but it's the video about the Hubble space Telescope that is taking the world by the horns. It is revealing exactly how small we are, and perhaps how insignificant our personal troubles are. When we account for the scale of the place that we live in, we get a grasp of what really matters. Bits of paper and protocol seem all too artificial when confronted with the grandeur of the natural universe. Our human and mentally infused world takes place on a comparably extremely small scale.
The Hubble wasn't originally so brilliant. Although now it has been able to provide exquisite photography and discover truths about the extreme distant past, explaining the key physical procedures that brought the modern universe to its present state, when it first got into orbit, there was a giant fault. One of the mirrors had been made slightly out of shape, and this meant that the focus was out by a tiny fraction. When your focal length is registered in astronomical units or even light years, perhaps parsecs (a unit of length based on the radian), a tiny focal difference multiplies into huge problems.
A space mission took place to attach a special new lens to the front of the telescope in order to correct the light angle, and finally allow the multi-billion pound internationally valuable project to succeed. Thankfully we learned our lessons and now the plans for more space telescopes can be made in confidence that it can be done and it can be tweaked once in action. Humanity is good at doing, and good at fixing. The universe is here for us to explore, and for now we have to design extensions to our eyes and hands in the form of machines we can control, but with the sweeping changes to technology year by year, it is an incredibly exciting time to be staring at the stars.
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