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ToSeek
2004-Apr-06, 04:11 PM
After Hubble: Global Push for a World Space Observatory (http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/world_telescope_040406.html)


If NASA stands firm on its decision to let the Hubble Space Telescope die in about 2007, scientists will lose among other things their only tool for studying ultraviolet (UV) light coming from all corners of the cosmos. To fill the need, astronomers around the world are advocating the construction of a World Space Observatory they say could launch by 2009.

The proposed new observatory would not only be more capable than Hubble in the UV arena but would represent a whole new approach to big-time astronomy. The effort involves countries large and small trying to cobble together enough money to build the first truly global space telescope.

Grand Vizier
2004-Apr-06, 06:43 PM
This is a terrific idea from the point of view of astronomy. I'm not sure it'll wholly satisfy the public, though because the UV pics are not, surely, going to be as dramatic as the multi-spectral images from Hubble.

It's interesting that we have become now so accustomed to continuous coverage of non-visible frequency ranges. I have been toying with the idea of doing a timeline graphic that shows up such as gaps - like the looming one in the UV - in past decades and with regard to future programmes.

But as far as I can see, infra-red is well taken care of - although Spitzer has a quite limited lifespan, there's ESA's Herschel, Japanese Astro-F and the JWST to follow it. And X- and Gamma- are doing nicely with Chandra, XMM-Newton and Integral, with Astro-E2 to be launched shortly. Solar-wise, plans for a successor to SOHO seem to be well advanced.

So, as far as I know, there's really only a UV gap imminent...