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The Good News
2015 May
Pg 3 - The Sunshine Express
April 24 marked the 25th anniversary of the launch
of NASA¡¯s Hubble Space Telescope, the world¡¯s first
space telescope. Hubble images have revealed a vast
and colorful cosmos, showcasing, among many won-
ders, towering pillars of star-making dust and seas of
galaxies floating in space like jellyfish.
NASA¡¯s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Califor-
nia, is celebrating its role in the historic mission this
week. JPL designed and built the camera that saved
Hubble after a flaw in the telescope¡¯s primary mir-
ror was discovered shortly after its launch in 1990.
The Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, or WFPC2,
was carefully designed to be out of focus to the same
degree as Hubble¡¯s primary mirror, only in the oppo-
site direction. In 1993, astronauts aboard the space
shuttle Endeavour installed the camera, restoring the
mission¡¯s ability to take sharp images.
Another instrument was also installed during this
servicing mission, called the Corrective Optics Space
Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR), which acted
like a prescription lens to fix the remaining instru-
ments on Hubble.
In 1994, NASA released its first images from the
new Hubble. Among them a ¡®before and after¡¯ picture
taken of spiral galaxy M100 by WFPC2. The difference
in picture quality was startling. The picture would ap-
pear the next day in papers around the world.
Telling the Time by Colour
(Newswise) Research by sci-
entists at The University of
Manchester has revealed that
the colour of light has a major
impact on how our body clock
measures the time of day.
It¡¯s the first time the impact of
colour has been tested and dem-
onstrates that colour provides a
more reliable way of telling the
time than measuring brightness.
In research published on April
20 in the Open Access journal
PLOS Biology, the researchers
looked at the change in light
around dawn and dusk to ana-
25 Years Of Hubble
new experimental tools and a psychophysics ap-
proach, we were successful.¡±
He continues, ¡°What¡¯s exciting about our re-
search is that the same findings can be applied
to humans. So in theory colour could be used to
manipulate our clock, which could be useful for
shift workers or travellers wanting to minimize
jet lag.¡± (Source Newsroom: University of Man-
chester, Citations PLOS Biology 20 April 2015)
Some Colorful News
lyse whether colour could be used to determine
time of day. Besides the well-known changes in
light intensity that occur as the sun rises and
sets they found that during twilight, light is
reliably bluer than during the day.
The scientists next recorded electrical ac-
tivity from the body clock while mice were
shown different visual stimuli. They found that
many of the cells there were more sensitive
to changes in colour between blue and yellow
than to changes in brightness.
The scientists then used measurements of the
changes in the colour spectra taken from the
top of the University¡¯s Pariser Building, to con-
struct an artificial sky which recreated the daily
changes in colour and brightness.
Mice were placed beneath the sky for several
days and their body temperature was record-
ed. As expected for nocturnal creatures, the
highest body temperatures occurred just after
night fell when the sky turned a darker blue,
indicating that their body clock was working
optimally. When just the brightness of the sky
was changed, with no change in the colour, the
mice became more active before dusk, demon-
strating that their body clock wasn¡¯t properly
aligned to the day night cycle.
Dr Timothy Brown from the Faculty of Life Sci-
ences led the research: ¡°This is the first time
that we¡¯ve been able to test the theory that co-
lour affects the body clock in mammals. It has
always been very hard to separate the change
in colour to the change in brightness, but using
Over the next decade-and-a-half, JPL¡¯s Wide Field and
Planetary Camera 2 would take more than 135,000
observations of the universe. Its images would go on
to adorn posters, album covers, screen savers and
science textbooks. In 2009, WFPC2 was removed and
replaced by the Wide Field Camera 3 during space
shuttle Servicing Mission 4. WFPC2 now resides in
the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in
The space telescope was designed to last for 15
years, but now scientists believe that it will continue
operating at least until 2020. The James Webb Space
Telescope, which images on a slightly different wave-
length than the Hubble, is scheduled for launch in
To learn more about NASA events celebrating the
Hubble anniversary, visit:
For more Hubble 25th Anniversary events, visit:
For more information about NASA¡¯s Hubble Space
Telescope, visit:
The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena
manages JPL for NASA.
NGC 6302: The Butterfly Nebula. Its wingspan covers
over 3 light-years with an estimated surface
temperature of about 250,000 degrees C