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The Hubble space telescope.


I see a telescope (tel-e-scope).

I see the Hubble (Hub-ble) Space Telescope.

A telescope makes far things look near.

A telescope can take pictures (pic-tures).

A telescope can be in space.

New Words


Hubble Space





(See directions in Teaching Notes for all activities.)


What do you see?

Write the sentence, below.

I see the Hubble Space Telescope. --


Adult Supervision Recommended

Weekly Lab

What can you see in a mirror?

You need: small mirror, a chair, colorful blocks

Step 1: Put the blocks on the chair.

Step 2: Hold the mirror. Walk away from the chair 6 to 7 steps.

Step 3: Turn away from the chair. Hold the mirror near your face.

Step 4: Turn the mirror until you see the blocks.


Did you see the blocks in the small mirror?

You saw a reflection (re-flec-tion).

What does reflection mean?

Science says ... Telescopes use mirrors to reflect light.


Shapes--What shapes did you see in your WEEKLY LAB?








1. What shape was the mirror? Draw the shape. --

2. What shape was the block? Draw the shape. --

Writing in Science

What did you learn in the WEEKLY LAB?

Write sentences.


1. What do mirrors do? --

2. What does a space telescope do? --


A space telescope takes pictures in space.


What do you see in space?

Draw a picture.


Bringing It Home

What do you see in space?

Draw a circle around objects in space.

Draw an "X" on objects not in space.













Hubble Space Telescope





"What is the difference between a planet and a star? They are both in space."

"Good question! Hubble takes pictures of planets and stars, but they are different."

"We'll learn about planets in our next issue."


Supplement of Science Weekly

Publication Pre-A through E

The Hubble Space Telescope


Since 1990, Hubble has orbited 569 kilometers above Earth. Hubble is a reflecting telescope using a primary concave mirror and a secondary convex mirror.


Light is electromagnetic radiation, or energy. We see visible light, yet there are other forms of radiation energy. Visible light makes up a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Hubble was designed to observe visible, ultraviolet, and infrared images.


How Telescopes Work

Telescopes are "light buckets," since their primary function is to capture light from a certain region in the sky. There are different types of telescopes, however the most common are optic telescopes. Optic telescopes use optics (lenses or mirrors) to view distant objects. Telescopes can use reflecting mirrors, or refracting lenses. A reflective telescope usually contains two mirrors (one primary and one secondary) that reflect, or shoot back an image. Refractive telescopes uses lenses that angle, or bend light.

Within Hubble, the primary mirror measures 2.39 meters (about 94 inches). This mirror is wider than a school bus. This mirror captures, or collects starlight, or reflecting planet light. The primary mirror reflects the light back at an angle to the smaller, secondary mirror. This secondary mirror concentrates the light from the primary mirror into instruments, allowing astronomers to view the space images.

Why Is It Good That Hubble Is A Reflecting Telescope?

* Refracting telescopes focus red and blue lights differently. Mirrors don't have this defect.

* As light passes through refracting lenses, light can be absorbed by the glass. Mirrors don't do this.

* Large lenses are heavy, and can deform under their own weight. Mirrors are lighter.

* Lenses have two surfaces that must be machined and polished. Mirrors have only one surface.

Advantage of Large versus Small Telescopes

Larger telescopes have greater light-gathering power. The larger the telescope's reflecting mirror (or refracting lens), the more light it can collect. Large telescopes have superior angular resolution. Resolution refers to the ability to display distinct, separate images of objects that lie close together. Angular resolution refers to the ability to display distinct, separate images of objects separated by a small angle in the sky.

Eventually, Hubble will stop sending pictures. NASA will turn off Hubble's equipment and no longer send space missions to make repairs. NASA is expected to de-orbit Hubble and direct the telescope to crash into the Pacific Ocean.

Initiating Questions Levels Pre-A--A

1. What is a telescope?

2. Have you used a telescope?

3. What did you see in the telescope?

Follow-up Questions Levels Pre-A--A

4. What is a space telescope?

5. What do space telescopes show?

6. Can we see the Hubble Space Telescope?


Hubble was named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble. Astronomers are scientists who study space.

Level Pre-A

Main Concept: The Hubble Space Telescope is in space above Earth. It sends back pictures of stars and planets.

Picture Activity

Space is dark. The Hubble Space Telescope shows us far away planets, stars and galaxies.

Vocabulary I

Students trace the new vocabulary words: Earth, space, and telescope, and match the words to the pictures.

Weekly Lab

Students make a telescope with paper. By moving away from a big object, the object will look smaller. In space, large objects can be very far away, and look small.


Students count two near objects (Hubble and Earth), and three far objects (two stars and the Moon) for a total of five space objects. 2 + 3 = 5


Earth is a planet. Above Earth is the Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble takes pictures of stars and planets that are far, far away. Space is dark and very, very big.


Students will draw different objects in space.

Bringing It Home

Students will connect the dot-to-dot to make the Hubble Space Telescope above Earth.


2009 is the Year of Astronomy.

Level A

Main Concept: The Hubble Space Telescope orbits Earth in space. The telescope lets us see far away space objects. Hubble takes pictures of planets and stars.


Students copy the sentence on the lines provided.

Weekly Lab

Students will observe that mirrors reflect, or send back images. Telescopes can use mirrors. The Hubble uses mirrors to collect light from distant stars and planets. Hubble collects the light in a lens that makes the stars and planets look bigger and easier to see.


Students will observe the shape of the mirror and blocks used in the WEEKLY LAB. They will write the name of the shape on the lines and draw a picture of the shape in the box provided: square, triangle, rectangle, arch, oval or circle.

Writing In Science

Answers: 1) Mirrors reflect, or send back light and images. 2) A space telescope uses mirrors to reflect light from distant stars and planets. It takes pictures of the stars and planets. It sends the pictures back to Earth so people can see them.


Students draw a space picture, incorporating what they learned from the reading material and activities.

Bringing It Home

Students circle objects that are in space (Hubble Space Telescope, rocket, Sun, stars); and cross out objects not in space (dog, flower, house, car).


Hubble can look into deep space (10-15 billion light years away). Astronomers call this the Hubble Deep Field.


All telescopes are "time machines," It can take light thousands to millions of years to travel across space.

Level B

Main Concept: The Hubble Space Telescope is in space. It makes far objects look closer. Hubble uses mirrors to collect light from stars, planets, and galaxies. Hubble takes pictures and transmits the pictures to Earth. Astronomers study the pictures.

Initiating Questions Level B

1. Where is the Hubble Space Telescope?

2. What does Hubble do?

3. How does Hubble work?

Follow-up Questions Level B

4. Why do scientists use the Hubble Space Telescope?

5. Can we see Hubble in space? Why, or why not?

6. What would you like to see, if you looked into Hubble?


Answers: 1) concentrate; 2) transmits; 3) telescope; 4) galaxy; 5) astronomers

Students write a sentence describing an astronomer.

Weekly Lab

Large telescopes, like Hubble, use reflective mirrors. Students learn how mirrors reflect and capture light. Hubble's mirrors collect light from stars, planets and galaxies. Ask if they see how light can be collected in mirrors. Tell students that mirrors cause light rays to bend in the air.


Answers: 1) 20 pictures; 2) Tuesday and Thursday; 3) 35 pictures; 4) 95 pictures; 5) 20 years old

Writing in Science

Answers: 1) Mirrors reflect, or send back light. 2) Students should see a reflection of the blocks. 3) Space telescopes reflect light from stars, planets and galaxies. This light is used to take pictures. The pictures are sent back to Earth.


Students will learn there are three basic shapes of galaxies: irregular, elliptical and spiral. The Milky Way Galaxy is a spiral galaxy. Students will draw a picture of each shape and write the words.


Answer: Star light! Star bright!

Level C

Main Concept: (See Level B.) Telescopes magnify images. Hubble is a reflecting telescope. It uses mirrors to collect and concentrate the light. Earth's atmosphere distorts, or bends light from space. Hubble orbits the Earth, above the atmosphere, so it is able to take clear pictures for astronomers to study.

Initiating Questions Level C

1. Why do you think astronomers want to see out in space?

2. What does Hubble let us see?

3. Why does our atmosphere distort telescope images on Earth?

Follow-up Questions Level C

4. What is the difference between reflective and refractive telescopes?

5. Describe a galaxy.

6. What would you ask an astronomer to see from Hubble?



1. A telescope is a tool that makes distant objects look closer.

2. The Hubble Space Telescope orbits above Earth.

3. Astronomers want to have a telescope in space to see space pictures without distortion from Earth's atmosphere.

4. A reflecting telescope has mirrors that reflect, or send back light or images.

Weekly Lab

Students learn how light is concentrated through a hole in the black paper into the mirror in the same way reflective telescopes concentrate light. Try this in a dark room. If you hold the flashlight far away from the mirror it spreads out. The light is less concentrated.


Answers depend on the mirrors used in the WEEKLY LAB and the distances between objects.

Writing in Science

Answers: 1) Mirrors reflect light and objects at different angles. They can bend light to concentrate it at a chosen focal point. 2) Light would appear more concentrated in a darker room, since there is less surrounding light to interfere. 3) We can see distant stars, galaxies, planets, asteroids, comets, moons and stardust. Hubble will observe one area for many days to collect distant light, and view images.


Galaxies can move away from each other in space, or they can move toward each other. Note that the dots (galaxies) themselves, do not expand--only the space between them. The main point is that galaxies can move in space and are not static.


Students will use different words to describe Hubble, or space in acrostic format.

Initiating Questions Levels D--E

1. Why did NASA launch Hubble in space?

2. What does Hubble take pictures of?

3. Can you see Hubble in space? Have you seen a satellite moving on a dark night?

Follow-up Questions Levels D--E

4. How does a reflective telescope work?

5. What is our atmosphere? Why is it important?

6. Why is living in space hard?


Hubble travels at 28,163 km/hour (17,500 mi/hour) around Earth. It takes Hubble 97 minutes to orbit Earth.


The astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that there were other galaxies in space.


A convex lens flips images upside down. To correct, put a concave lens in front. The two different lenses will correct the image.

Level D

Main Concept: (See Levels B and C.) Additionally, space is very hard on Hubble. Parts are wearing out. Astronauts can only fix Hubble so many times. Eventually, NASA plans to turn Hubble's equipment off. Scientists will allow gravity to pull Hubble down into the Pacific Ocean. In 2014, NASA plans to replace Hubble with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).


Crossword Solution:


Weekly Lab

Students will work with different lenses to observe how objects can be focused, just like in a telescope. Although students are working with lenses, not mirrors, they will begin to understand how optical parts affect the appearance of objects. Telescopes need mirrors of different sizes and magnifying powers to focus images.


Answers: 1) The mirror is concave. The light rays are being reflected, or sent back at different angles and concentrated at the focal point. 2) angle B = 45[degrees]; 3) angle C = 45[degrees]; 4) Concave and convex lenses, not mirrors, were used. The lenses, however, still demonstrate how mirrors can magnify distant objects. 5) light ray 2 = 180[degrees]

Writing in Science

Answers: 1) The writing was magnified when you moved the reading lens back and forth in front of the magnifying glass. 2) There was less magnification. 3) The words would be distorted. Placing the lenses, or mirrors, in a telescope in the right position is important.


Students will learn that visible light can be split into different colors. The water in the glass acts like a prism splitting visible light into different color wavelengths. Light is energy, and can travel in different wavelengths.


In flat mirrors, students will observe multiple reflections.

Level E

Main Concept: (See Levels B--D.) Refractive telescopes use glass lenses. Hubble is a reflective telescope. It uses mirrors. Unlike glass lenses, mirrors have a coating of silver or aluminum to make them reflective. Very large telescopes are housed in special buildings called dome observatories. Hubble is breaking down. Its light sensors have failed. Ultraviolet radiation is breaking down the metal and electronic equipment. Asteroids have caused damage, too.


Answers: 1) An observatory is a large building that houses a telescope in the desert or on a mountain. 2) The atmosphere is a blanket of gases surrounding Earth. 3) To orbit is to revolve, or circle a planet or star. 4) A telescope is a tool that magnifies distant objects, and makes them look closer. 5) Reflective means able to reflect, or send back an image, or light. 6) Hubble is a reflective telescope. Hubble reflects, or sends back images or light using shiny mirrors.



1. 150,000,000 km / 569 km = 263,620. The Sun is 263,620 times farther from Earth than Hubble.

2. a. Five trillion, eight hundred sixty-five billion, six hundred ninety-six million miles

b. 5,865,696,000,000 km X 1.6 = 9,385,113,600,000 km, or 9.385 x [10.sup.12] km

3. 9,656,064,000,000 km/light year X 4.6 light years = 444,178,994,400,000 km, or 4.44 x [10.sup.14] km

4.94 inches / 39 inches = 2.4 meters wide

Weekly Lab

Using two convex lenses allows students to observe how telescopes magnify distant objects. Convex lenses, however, show images upside down. If you put a concave lens in front, the image would be righted up. Concave and convex lenses correct each other.

Writing in Science


1) The two lenses magnified objects and made them look closer. Convex lenses turn images upside down.

2) The lenses were convex. 3) Convex lenses bend light and make images appear upside down. 4) The telescope I made, like Hubble, magnifies objects so they look closer. 5) The telescope I made uses lenses instead of mirrors. It is not in space. It is much smaller.


Students will compare reflective telescopes to refractive telescopes. (See completed chart, to the left.)
                              Reflective          Refractive
                              Telescope           Telescope

Uses lenses or mirrors?        mirrors              lenses

Does what?                   reflects, or        refracts, or
                           sends back light      angles light

What is Hubble?           Hubble--reflective

How does this                Two mirrors          Two lenses
telescope work?             reflect light.       angle light.

Captures light or           Both. Needs to      Both. Needs to
images?                    capture light to    capture light to
                             see images.         see images.

Makes objects look               near                near
near or far?
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Publication:Science Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 8, 2010
Previous Article:Glaciers.
Next Article:Weekly resources: helpful sources for planning your Science Weekly classroom activities.

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