The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has passed another milestone in its almost 21 years of observations: the publication of the 10,000th refereed scientific paper based on Hubble data.
Alvaro Gimenez, Director of Science and Robotic Exploration for the European Space Agency said: “Reaching the milestone of the 10,000th scientific paper reminds us that Hubble is one of the most successful scientific endeavors in history. European scientists have played a big part in this, and have been intimately involved with Hubble since before the telescope´s launch. Thanks to ESA´s partnership with NASA, Europe´s astronomers have made major contributions to our understanding of the Universe.”
European scientists are guaranteed at least 15% of the observing time on Hubble under the terms of ESA´s participation in this international project. Over the years, scientists in over 35 countries have engaged in Hubble research. The United States are responsible for the most papers published based on Hubble observations, followed by five ESA member countries: the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France and Spain.
The lead author of the 10,000th paper is Zach Cano of Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom. He reports on the identification of the faintest ever supernova to be associated with a long-duration gamma ray burst, a type of outburst of high-energy radiation that follows the death of a star.
Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has been serviced five times by astronauts, most recently in 2009. With recently overhauled equipment and a suite of new instruments, Hubble is now at the height of its powers, and is expected to continue operations into the second half of this decade at least.
Hubble´s successor, the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope is currently under construction and will launch later this decade.
On the Net:
- Hubble Space Telescope’s Top Science Findings (PDF)
- Statistics for HST Refereed Science Papers