View Full Version : Hubble Gazes at the Moon

2005-Oct-19, 05:48 PM
SUMMARY: NASA has turned the Hubble Space Telescope at our closest neighbour to help scout out potential landing sites. In addition to being incredibly powerful, Hubble is sensitive to ultraviolet light, which is reflected off of surface materials on the lunar surface. This will allow scientists to identify areas abundant in titanium and iron oxides, which would provide oxygen and metals for future lunar bases. Hubble's resolution is still only 50-100 metres, so it can't reveal Apollo spacecraft still on the Moon.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/hubble_gazes_moon.html)
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2005-Oct-19, 08:18 PM
I thought the moon was too bright for Hubble... Did they use Hubble only when the moon is not lit by the sun (ie. new moon)?

2005-Oct-19, 10:41 PM
No, the Moon is not too bright for Hubble. It is, however, too fast for Hubble to track. That doesn't matter, though, because it is bright enough that the Hubble can take a really fast picture and gather enough light to make an image. It isn't tracking the Moon, but the image is short enough that there is no blur.

Also, they wouldn't take a picture of the Moon near new moon because the Hubble would have to be pointed near the Sun, which is way too bright to look at.

2005-Oct-20, 09:22 AM
NASA: Hubble Shoots the Moon (http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/solarsystem/hubble_moon.html)

These observations weren't easy. The moon is a difficult target for Hubble because it moves across the sky faster than Hubble can track it and is very dim in ultraviolet light. The observations required steady, precise, as well as long exposures to search for the resources. In spite of these challenges, Hubble was able to image all of its targets, and early results show that Hubble can detect ilmenite at the Apollo 17 site from 248,000 miles (400,000 km) away.

peter eldergill
2005-Oct-20, 12:25 PM
Does the reflected light off the moon have much energy (infrared, specifically)? I'm just curious if they reflected too much moonlight, would it burn out the lense or anything?


2005-Nov-01, 08:55 PM
Hi Peter,

although Hubble has a fairly large mirror with a high light gathering power, the brightness of the full moon is more than 15 magnitudes below that of the sun. Therefore, Hubble´s sensors are not damaged by the glare of the moonlight.

"That wheelchair guy" Mr. Hawkins is a bright fellow. But there are other brilliant astrophysicists which can teach you a lot, and perhaps even more, but which find much less public notice in the media.