The Hubble Space Telescope, named after astronomer Edwin Hubble, is one of the most successful scientific projects of all time.
Positioned outside the Earth's atmosphere it has significant advantages over ground-based telescopes — images are not blurred by the atmosphere, there is no background from light scattered by the air, and the Hubble can observe ultra-violet light that is normally absorbed by the ozone layer in observations made from Earth.
Since its launch in 1990, it has become one of the most important instruments in the history of astronomy. With it, astronomers have made many observations leading to breakthroughs in astrophysics.
400 Years of the Telescope takes viewers on a journey from Galileo’s first look at the cosmos in 1609, to today’s thrilling quests to discover new worlds and glimpse the formation of the first stars after the Big Bang.
The filmmakers traveled the globe, interviewing leading astronomers and cosmologists against a backdrop of the world’s greatest observatories, to create a vivid film that presents the human quest of the past 400 years to understand the structure and nature of the universe.
On a crystal-clear evening, on vacation perhaps, how often do we contemplate the night sky and promise to learn the stars and constellations? Somehow we never get round to it. Charts in newspapers look too complicated. Astronomical handbooks are equally daunting.
'Stargazing: A Graphic Guide To The Universe' is the answer – the night sky simply and beautifully mapped, an animated stellar atlas that works from anywhere on Earth. Season-by-season, it signposts and explains. Little by little – like learning a language – the cosmos is comprehensible.
Animated vignettes turn points of light – stars, nebulae, galaxies – into supernovae, flashing pulsars, searing quasars and rotating swarms of 150-billion stars with super-massive black holes at their centers.
The sky is viewed from three latitude bands – from the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere (Japan, Europe, North America), from the tropics, and from the mid-latitudes of the southern hemisphere (Australasia and southern South America).