What benefits does the Hubble telescope have over ground-based telescopes?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Have you ever noticed how something looks when it is under-water,

    with ripples in the water? The Earth's atmosphere has a similar

    effect. Images are shifted, distorted by the air, and also messed-up by

    variations in temperature. This is why most observatories are

    constructed on high places (like mountains) to look through as little

    air as possible. In orbit (of course) the telescope is above most

    of the atmosphere, as there is no air in space to distort the image.

    Also, the weather doesn't matter, there are no clouds, or dust or

    dirt to obscure the image. Space is also very cold -which is good

    for telescopes. It is unaffected by wind and the Hubble has no problem with

    "light pollution" where light from stars etc. is washed-out by

    the artificial light of cities and population. Ever notice how many more

    stars you can see if you're far from city lights...? Another reason why observatories are built in remote areas.

    The Hubble telescope itself, is no better than most ground-based

    scopes, but it's viewing position (in Earth orbit) is vastly superior

    to any telescope stuck on the ground.

    So, even though there are bigger and better telescopes (on Earth),

    the Hubble can see farther and clearer, because it doesn't have

    to look through miles of atmosphere.

  • 1 decade ago

    The atmosphere distorts light and constant tracking is required.

    The hubble space telescope barely needs to track the stars when it is making long exposures and it doesn't have to deal with the humidity/temperature or the atmosphere.

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