Philosophical Society of Washington

A Lecture Underwritten by Millstein & Taylor, PC

Fifteen Years of Astounding Images by the Hubble Space Telescope

H. John Wood
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

2212th Meeting Abstract
Friday, November 17, 2006 at 8:15 PM


Orbiting high above the turbulence of the earth’s atmosphere, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is providing breathtaking views of astronomical objects never before seen in such detail. The steady images allow this medium-size telescope to reach the faintest galaxies ever seen by mankind. Some of these galaxies are seen as early as 2 billion years after the Big Bang in a 13.7 billion year old universe. HST has allowed dramatic advances in all fields of astronomy and astrophysics since its launch in April 1990. Servicing by the Space Shuttle has allowed correction of the optics and installation of new state-of-the-art instruments over the time the telescope has been in orbit. This lecture will present some of the most beautiful images that show the power and utility of the HST.

John Wood

About the Author:

John Wood is the Lead Optical Engineer on the Hubble Space Telescope at Goddard Space Flight Center, where he has worked for over 20 years. In addition to the Hubble Project, he has been Lead Optical Engineer on other Goddard projects: the Mars Observer Laser Altimeter and the Diffuse Infrared Background Experiment aboard the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE). Earlier he served as assistant to the director at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory (Chile) for two years. He held a Fulbright Research Fellowship for two years at the University Observatory in Vienna, Austria. He also served five years as a staff astronomer at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. His career began with six years on the astronomy faculty of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville.

Winner of the 1992 NASA exceptional service medal and the 1994 NASA exceptional achievement medal for his work on COBE and HST, he is the author of over 50 research papers in astronomy and space optics. He was invited by the Optical Society of America to edit special editions of Applied Optics and Optics and Photonics News on the HST first servicing mission. He was co-chair of the HST Independent Optical Review Panel that was charged with the determination of the optical parameters for the HST while on orbit. A graduate of Swarthmore College, he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Astronomy from Indiana University.

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