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Dr. H. John Wood, "HUBBLE OPTICS, ASTRONOMY and MARS"

Date: 09/23/04
Time: 4-5:30 p.m.
Audience: Public
Sponsored By: School of Science and Engineering
Location: Coykendall Science Building Auditorium
Contact: David M. Clark, x3524, clarkd@newpaltz.edu

Soon after launch in 1990, it was found that the Hubble space telescope (HST) could not be focused correctly; the tool used to polish the mirror was mis-calibrated and a large error was polished into the mirror. Fortunately, the HST was designed to be serviced by astronauts aboard the space shuttle every three years. If the optical error could be quantified and corrective optics produced, astronauts on the 1993 servicing mission could fix the problem. Dr. Wood oversaw the development of the necessary corrective optics which was successfully completed in time for this mission. After relating this story, he will show some of the outstanding astronomical images produced by the corrected telescope, explain the astounding discoveries made by Hubble astronomers, and describe the latest results of the Mars orbiters and rovers.