Science@Cal Lecture, January 2010

Our talk on January 16, 2010 was given by Dr. Bethany Cobb from the UC Berkeley Astronomy Department, and was entitled “From Failure to Triumph: The Story of the Hubble Space Telescope”.
Released into orbit in 1990, the highly anticipated Hubble Space Telescope quickly became a major embarrassment for NASA. Despite two decades of development and testing, the telescope’s main mirror had been shaped incorrectly, leaving the telescope out of focus. The telescope also suffered from a design flaw that caused the telescope to shake! Despite these troubles, HST was still a powerful astronomical instrument thanks to its orbit above Earth’s atmosphere. With a series of delicate space repairs in 1993, HST finally reached its full potential and has been a revolutionary instrument ever since. This talk will describe HST’s history and future and highlight some of the telescope’s groundbreaking astronomical observations.
Bethany Cobb is a National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley. She works on the explosive deaths of massive stars as gamma ray bursts. She enjoys communicating her love of astronomy to the public, whether teaching at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, providing astronomical information for “The Old Farmer’s Almanac”, participating in the astronomy department’s International Year of Astronomy Lecture Series, or developing an astronomy-themed dance performance with choreographer Kathryn Roszak. You can watch the video of Dr. Cobb’s talk by clicking on the image below.

You can also see details of the next talk in the series, and the full calendar of talks.