JWST and the imagination

An infrared image of the 'Pillars of Creation' in the Eagle Nebula, photographed by the Hubble space telescope in 2014. Credit: NASA/ESA/STScI/AURA

When the Hubble space telescope launched in April 1990, I was too young to understand what was going on – but not yesterday, when NASA launched its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Every once in a while, the Hubble telescope team releases an image of thousands of stars packed into one shot, the…… Continue reading JWST and the imagination

The pitfalls of thinking that ASTROSAT will be ‘India’s Hubble’

The Hubble Space Telescope needs no introduction. It’s become well known for its stunning images of nebulae and star-fields, and it wouldn’t be amiss to say the telescope has even become synonymous with images of strange beauty often from distant cosmic shores. No doubt saying something is like the Hubble Space Telescope simplifies the task of…… Continue reading The pitfalls of thinking that ASTROSAT will be ‘India’s Hubble’

Of small steps and giant leaps of collective imagination

The Wire July 16, 2015 We may all harbour a gene that moves us to explore and find new realms of experience but the physical act of discovery has become far removed from the first principles of physics. At 6.23 am on Wednesday, when a signal from the New Horizons probe near Pluto reached a…… Continue reading Of small steps and giant leaps of collective imagination

Hubble at 25: My picks

For the Hubble space telescope’s 25th anniversary (April 24, 2015), NASA released a picture of the Westerlund 2 star cluster that the telescope shot. The image shows an expanding shell of gas lit up by the radiation from a cluster of 3,000 stars at its center. On the occasion of a quarter-century of operations, here are my favorite…… Continue reading Hubble at 25: My picks