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How the Hubble Space Telescope got glasses

NASA engineers were frantic. The telescope was launched into space by the Space Shuttle Discovery and was orbiting Earth 360 miles up—they couldn’t very well bring it back down to fix it. They would have to take their best guess at what the problem was, and install something to correct it.

It took many experts looking at the blurry images to decide that the problem was likely spherical aberration. A 2-micron error in the grinding of a lens was magnified by the vast distances the telescope was expected to see.

The good news was now that they could calculate the aberration, they could send up an additional camera with a “prescription” that countered it, and sharpen the image before the photo was taken. Essentially, one of the largest space telescopes ever built got glasses!

Once that was accomplished, the Hubble Space Telescope sent back sharp, clear images that have led to many breakthroughs in astrophysics, including accurately determining the rate that the universe expands.

If you’d like to learn more about this incredible story, you can find it here.

In 2018, NASA will launch the James Webb Space Telescope, a successor to Hubble that will deepen our knowledge of the universe. This incredible advancement in technology will contain optics from Zeiss!

Which brings me to the point that we proudly offer ophthalmic lenses from this industry leader in our office. If you want telescopic vision (just kidding!) just call us at 704-821-5009 to schedule an appointment.