Today (April 25th) marks the 30th anniversary of the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope by the crew of the space shuttle Discovery.1,2 The Hubble has greatly enhanced our view of God’s creation, serving to remind us that, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork.”3 This anniversary also suggests a couple of home astronomy activities for families undergoing social distancing due to the coronavirus.
Above the distorting effects of Earth’s atmosphere, the Hubble has provided a spectacular view of deep space, despite getting off to a rough start. When initially launched and put in orbit in 1990, a subtle imperfection in its primary mirror greatly reduced the telescope’s ability to capture images of celestial objects. This defect was corrected by space shuttle astronauts in 1993,4 but it required tens of millions of dollars to produce and install.
In its thirty years of operation, the Hubble Space Telescope has provided spectacular images of deep space, as well as higher resolution images of objects in our own solar system. Many of these images may be freely viewed online at Hubblesite.org. This website has also posted a short video montage of 600 high quality images taken by the Hubble.5
Even though many of the people involved in the Hubble project are secular in their thinking, the Hubble Space Telescope has shown us much more of the grandeur of God’s universe. Despite the likely intentions of many of its designers, it has also helped reveal problems in secular theories about the universe’s origin.6-10 Creation scientists have long been working on alternative cosmological models to replace the Big Bang model.11-14
The images archived at Hubblesite.org are a good way for socially isolated families to enjoy God’s handiwork. Also, you may be able to view the Hubble Space Telescope as it passes overhead at your location. After inputting the name of your city, the website Heavens-Above.com provides you with star charts that depict the exact local times that the Hubble Space Telescope flies overhead. Because of the Hubble’s orbit, those living between latitudes 28.5° N and 28.5° S have the best chance of getting a good view of the Hubble, although overhead passes also occur at other latitudes.15 For those not living in those low latitudes, the International Space Station is also visible as it passes overhead, and it can be seen from many more locations on Earth than the Hubble.15 If you do see them, both the International Space Station and the Hubble will appear as tiny star-like dots slowly moving across the sky.
Although the Hubble Space Telescope was named after Edwin Hubble, a famous astronomer who was quite secular in his thinking, the Hubble has nevertheless revealed much more of the grandeur of God’s creation.
1. Rogers, J. NASA’s Hubble telescope celebrates 30 years in space. Fox News. Posted on foxnews.com April 24, 2020, accessed April 24, 2020.
2. Harbaugh, J. This Week in NASA History: Hubble Deployed—April 25, 1990. NASA. Posted on nasa.gov April 22, 2020, accessed April 24, 2020.
3. Psalm 19:1-2.
4. Garner, R. Hubble’s Mirror Flaw. NASA. Posted on nasa.gov, updated November 25, 2019, accessed April 24, 2020.
5. The Hubble Space Telescope: Three Decades of Discovery. HubbleSite. Video posted at hubblesite.org, accessed April 24, 2020.
6. Hebert, J. 2015. The Hubble ‘Pillars of Creation’ Revisited. Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org January 19, 2015, accessed April 24, 2020.
7. Coppedge, D. F. 2008. The Message in Surprise Effects. Acts & Facts. 37 (8): 15.
8. Coppedge. D. F. 2006. Mature at Birth: Universe Discredits Evolution. Acts & Facts. 35 (10).
9. Thomas, B. 2012. Distant Watery Planet Looks Young. Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org April 4, 2012, accessed April 24, 2020.
10. Hebert, J. 2019. Big Bang Hubble Contradiction Confirmed. Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org May 16, 2019, accessed April 24, 2020.
11. Humphreys, D. R. 1994. Starlight and Time: Solving the Puzzle of Distant Starlight in a Young Universe. Green Forest, AR: Master Books.
12. Hebert, J. 2017. Have creationists overlooked an abundance of biblical cosmological data? Creation Research Society Quarterly. 53: 286-296.
13. Hebert, J. and J. J. S. Johnson. 2018. Do Isaiah 40:22 and Psalm 29:10 Speak to Cosmological Realities? Considering the “Waters Above” and Earth’s Cosmic Choreography. Creation Research Society Quarterly. 55 (1): 44-48.
14. Dennis, P. W. Consistent young earth relativistic cosmology. Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Creationism. J. H. Whitmore, ed. Pittsburgh, PA: Creation Science Fellowship, 14-35.
15. Hill, T. You can see the Hubble Space Telescope in the sky above. Phys.org. Posted on phys.org April 30, 2015, accessed April 24, 2020.
*Dr. Jake Hebert is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas at Dallas.
Hubble Telescope’s 30th Anniversary