When we look at stars or the moon through a telescope located on Earth, the atmosphere, clouds, fog, haze and rain can block our view. Dr. Lyman Spitzer, Jr. was an astrophysicist (a scientist who studies the physic of outer space). He pointed out that a space-based telescope could get much clearer images than one that was sitting on Earth. This was in 1946, and back then, no one had even sent a rocket into space, much less a telescope.
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit in 1990; almost 50 years after it was first proposed by Dr. Spitzer. Named after astronomer Edwin Hubble, this 43.5-foot-long (13.3 meter) telescope/spaceship takes beautiful color pictures of objects like dying stars and other galaxies. The Hubble can’t take pictures of the sun, though. Its sensitive instruments would be fried by the sun’s powerful heat and light. On the other hand, it’s the sun that provides the solar energy that powers the Hubble.