The Hubble space telescope is operating without its best camera after a hardware problem forced it to shut down. It has the capability of spanning the electromagnetic spectrum from the ultraviolet through visible light and into the near-infrared.
Named after the American astronomer Edwin Hubble, the veteran telescope has been cranking away for more than quarter of century since it was launched in 1990.
Quasars similar to J043947.08+163415.7 existed during the period of reionization of the young Universe, when radiation from young galaxies and quasars reheated the obscuring hydrogen that had cooled off just 400 000 years after the Big Bang; the Universe reverted from being neutral to once again being an ionized plasma.
After a 20 year search, the Hubble Telescope has found the brightest quasar ever seen in the early universe, which is brighter than 600-trillion suns and creates 100,000 stars each year.
NASA noted that the Wide Field Camera 3, which was installed in 2009, includes redundant electronics that could be used recover the instrument, but didn't offer details about the glitch nor did it immediately respond to a request for comment. Energetic objects such as J0439 could help to solve this mystery.
"NASA is trying to pull together the team to try to diagnose the issue", Gundy said Wednesday.
"This is when everyone gets a reminder about two crucial aspects of space exploration: 1) complex systems like @NASAHubble only work due to a dedicated team of fantastic experts; 2) all space systems have finite life-times and such issues are bound to happen from time to time". "But we are still figuring out what the right path forward is".
Federal law allows agencies to keep some personnel working during the shutdown if it is necessary to protect life and property, yet it is still unclear whether NASA would be granted such an emergency exception in order to make the repairs before the end of the shutdown.
"The flight operations folks are considered essential and we've been in talks on repairs", Brown said. It has outlived the Kepler Space Telescope, which sputtered the last of its fuel previous year.
Thankfully, private companies are rallying round to investigate the Hubble cockup, and in the meantime the space 'scope is still making observations with its working instruments.
"This is when everyone gets a reminder about two crucial aspects of space exploration", Thomas Zurbuchen, head of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, wrote on Twitter.
Earlier in October, Hubble stopped working entirely for three weeks after the failure of one of the gyroscopes that it uses to orient itself in space, and it took input from experts across NASA to fix the problem.