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Author Topic: Why can Hubble see distant galaxies, but not nearby planets?  (Read 3337 times)

Joel

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Joel asked the Naked Scientists:
   Hello and thanks for a great show.

Why is it that the Hubble is able to produce awesome detailed images of distant galaxies, while we do not have high resolution, up close photos of our own planets, like Pluto?

Cheers

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 21/12/2009 18:30:02 by _system »


 

Offline graham.d

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Why can Hubble see distant galaxies, but not nearby planets?
« Reply #1 on: 22/12/2009 11:56:59 »
It can...

http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/solar_system

http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/solar_system/pluto/pr2006009c/large_web/hires/true/

There is a limit to the resolution though. The spectacular pics of nebulae are not a different magnification; it's just that they are very big (even if a long way off). Pluto is not very far away (relatively) but is very small by comparison.

 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Why can Hubble see distant galaxies, but not nearby planets?
« Reply #2 on: 22/12/2009 15:35:12 »
It has been used to get good images of planets and their moons including pluto but as the previous reply indicates, there are limits to the resolution of the telescope.
 

Offline SeanB

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Why can Hubble see distant galaxies, but not nearby planets?
« Reply #3 on: 22/12/2009 17:05:11 »
Hubble can image the earth to a resolution of around 30m. There are better spy satellites, capable of better than that on a good day, but they do not have Hubble's low light performance, or the wide range of spectra available. Kind of like using a F1 car to go to the corner shop to buy a loaf of bread, you can do it, but it is not the best. Hubble is best for long exposures to image really big objects in various wavelengths, giving better detail than ground based instruments because of no distortion on the long imaging time.
 

Offline syhprum

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Why can Hubble see distant galaxies, but not nearby planets?
« Reply #4 on: 22/12/2009 21:41:31 »
I think the resolution that Hubble (which is basically a spy satellite design) can achieve viewing the Earth is about 30 cm limited by atmospheric turbulence.
 

Offline yor_on

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Why can Hubble see distant galaxies, but not nearby planets?
« Reply #5 on: 25/12/2009 06:42:39 »

 

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