NASA releases Hubble’s new image taken in one gyroscope mode

The Hubble Space Telescope captures spiral galaxy NGC 1546 in one gyroscope mode
The Hubble Space Telescope captures spiral galaxy NGC 1546 in one gyroscope mode. (Image credit: NASA, ESA, STScI, David Thilker (JHU))

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured its first image since transitioning to the new pointing mode that uses one gyroscope.

The telescope restarted its daily science operations on June 14, 2024, after being offline for several weeks due to an issue with one of its gyroscopes.

A gyroscope controls the rotational motion of a telescope and keeps the telescope at the correct pointing during observation.

The first image, after shifting to one gyroscope mode, features NGC 1546, a nearby spiral galaxy in the constellation Dorado.

Here, the older population of stars at the core of the galaxy glows in bright yellow light, and the younger stars at the spiral arms of the galaxy glow in blue light. The dust lanes of the galaxy appear rusty-brown as they absorb light from the galaxy core.

“Hubble’s new image of a spectacular galaxy demonstrates the full success of our new, more stable pointing mode for the telescope,” a senior project scientist for Hubble, Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, said in a statement.

“We’re poised now for many years of discovery ahead, and we’ll be looking at everything from our solar system to exoplanets to distant galaxies. Hubble plays a powerful role in NASA’s astronomical toolkit,” she added.

The NASA team expects that Hubble can do most of its science observations in this one gyroscope mode, continuing its groundbreaking observations of the cosmos.

However, in one gyroscope mode, the telescope will take more time to slew and lock onto a science target and will not be able to track moving objects closer than Mars.

NASA had no option but to shift the telescope to one gyroscope mode because four of Hubble’s total six gyroscopes had malfunctioned.

As a result, NASA is using only one gyroscope while keeping another gyroscope available for future use. Know details here.

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Ashim

Ashim Chandra Sarkar founded Space & Telescope in 2022. He holds a M.Sc. in physics and has five years of research experience in optical astronomy. His passion for astronomy inspired him to open this website. He is responsible for the editorial vision of spaceandtelescope.com.

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