In the 30th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope, there were many beautiful images reaching the short inhabitants of Earth.
The European Space Agency (ESA) announced that Hubble had observed a total lunar eclipse, becoming the first space telescope to focus on the event. This is also the first time an eclipse has been studied at ultraviolet wavelengths, according to a study published above The Astronomical magazine.
The telescope has been trained for eclipses in a way NASA and ESA hope to play a role “representing the way they observe Earth-like planets around other stars in search of life. ” During a total lunar eclipse, the alignment of the three bodies involved is similar to what happens when an exoplanet flies past its local star. So for this Earth study, Hubble just looked at the moon during a lunar eclipse, observing that sunlight was filtered through Earth̵7;s atmosphere to look for ozone.
However, there are significant challenges to telescope training on our moon. The moon was so close to Earth that Hubble had to try and stabilize a selected area, in order to accurately track the moon’s motion relative to the space observatory, the announcement said. “It is for these reasons that Hubble is very rarely pointed at the moon.”
The data uncovered a “strong spectral fingerprint of ozone” using the moon as a mirror to Earth’s atmosphere. That is very important because it is a key indicator of the potential for growth or the presence of life. “Finding ozone in the spectrum of an extraterrestrial planet will be very important because it is real,” said Allison Youngblood, Hubble’s Head of Observations at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. photochemical byproduct of molecular oxygen, which is a byproduct of life. Colorado.
That’s a great step forward, but it’s not enough to determine whether life exists on an alien planet. The upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will be able to continue this research in new and exciting ways. Antonio Garcia Munoz of the Technische Universität Berlin said: “We expect JWST to push the spectroscopy technique through unprecedented limits. “In particular, it will be able to detect methane and oxygen in the atmospheres of planets orbiting nearby, small-sized stars. This will open up the realm of atmospheric characterization. The alien planets are getting smaller. “
Between the launch of many Mars gliders in July, including NASA’s Perseverance and studies like this, many agencies are getting deeper into finding life beyond the barrier of the atmosphere. the Earth.