Hubble’s Camera Celebrates 20 Years
The Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on the
Hubble Space Telescope has forever changed cosmology
Take a quick look at the matrix of photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope’s ACS in an article by Phys.org 7 March 2022. Then watch deep space come alive in a short video clip by NASA’s article: “Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys Celebrates 20 Years of Discovery.” Then for overload, browse the gallery of images on the NASA HST page.
Scientists love the data; everybody loves the photos. Most people find the detailed, colorful photos beautiful, awe-inspiring and fascinating, like works of art. Many of them were taken by the cameras on the Hubble, specifically the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) and the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), which was installed on March 7, 2002, twenty years ago. Telescopic photos have never been the same. While the world waits for the first detailed images from the new James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), being aimed at infrared sources, they are not likely to surpass the Hubble for sheer beauty and realism.
The Hubble telescope’s Deep Field images (6 May 2019) have revealed the vastness of our universe better than any previous instrument. The JWST may surpass that record. Hear physicist Bijan Nemati tell what the scientists may discover once the JWST becomes fully operational (ID the Future, 1 March 2022).
Believers will undoubtedly recall Psalm 19:1, “The Heavens Declare the Glory of God.” Illustra uses that text with some of the best Hubble images in this short film, “The Heavens Declare.”
Other Illustra videos on astronomy worth revisiting for this occasion include:
- Of Fingertips and Galaxies – the Hubble Deep Field’s awesome significance
- A Perfect Solar Eclipse – a remarkable coincidence that only happens on Earth
- Big Universe. Bigger God. – a spaceship voyage to try to comprehend the unimaginable scale of our universe
- God and the Astronomer – a surprising turnaround by an aging materialist astronomer
- David and the Pale Blue Dot – are humans significant in a vast universe?
- The Evidence of Cosmology – how astronomy shows the universe was intelligently designed
Did the Ancients Know?
A companion article to ponder, published by University of Southern California (17 Dec 2021), investigates the ancient history of astronomy thousands of years before the Hubble Telescope. In “Children of the Cosmos: What the Ancients Knew,” Susan Bell relates how even with only naked-eye astronomy, the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Mayans and other ancient scholars were not slouches.
We have been fascinated by the wonders of the universe and have endeavored to understand our place within it since our earliest ancestors first gazed up in awe at the night sky. So, how did ancient civilizations make sense of the cosmos — and what did they get right?
The article begins with a detailed mock-up of the Antikythera Mechanism found in a shipwreck from Greece. It reveals remarkable design for observation and prediction. Bell’s article is stunning for its accounts of diligent observation by ancient people who took the skies very seriously. They were better observers than many modern city dwellers who rarely see a clear night sky with their own eyes.
Wrong theology and philosophy led to myths such as animism, but ancient people got a surprising number of observations right, partly because of the image of God within them. As Paul said in Romans 1:20, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” That’s why he could appeal to the pagan philosophers in Athens, who sensed an “unknown God” to which they were accountable. From that innate knowledge he knew his hearers possessed, he preached the gospel:
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:24-30).
Recommended Resource: “Call of the Cosmos” DVD from Illustra Media. This can be purchased in quantity for handing out to friends.