Confused Hubble

Confused HubbleHubble uses what is called its Fine Guidance System (FGS) in order to maintain stability while performing observations. A set of gyroscopes measures the attitude of the telescope, which is then corrected by a set of reaction wheels. In order to compensate for gyroscopic drift, the FGS locks onto a guide star as a fixed reference in space.

In this case, Hubble locked onto a bad guide star, probably a double star or binary, causing an error in the tracking system. The result was this remarkable picture of brightly colored stellar streaks. The prominent red streaks are from stars in the globular cluster NGC 288.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

4 thoughts on “Confused Hubble

  1. Fine Art. Is NASA selling? I’m just saying that people will pay $12,000,000 for a dead shark in a tank of preservative so what might be paid for a picture taken by a 24 year-old space robot? Might could be a nice source of funding!

  2. Oh look! Visual proof of String Theory proclaim the geeniusses over at Team Kimberlin. Polite folks laugh behind their hands …

  3. Reminds me of that video you posted a couple months back of that satellite’s-eye view of the Moon eclipsing the Sun. When the Moon was covering the Sun, the image got wobbly then straightened back out once the Moon passed. Most likely because the s/c used a Sun sensor, which was unable to identify the Sun due to its brightness/shape being altered so heavily by the Moon.

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