Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a space telescope
Space observatory
A space observatory is any instrument in outer space which is used for observation of distant planets, galaxies, and other outer space objects...

 that was carried into orbit by a Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 in 1990 and remains in operation. A 2.4 meter (7.9 ft) aperture telescope in low Earth orbit
Low Earth orbit
A low Earth orbit is generally defined as an orbit within the locus extending from the Earth’s surface up to an altitude of 2,000 km...

, Hubble's four main instruments observe in the near ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared. The telescope is named after the astronomer
An astronomer is a scientist who studies celestial bodies such as planets, stars and galaxies.Historically, astronomy was more concerned with the classification and description of phenomena in the sky, while astrophysics attempted to explain these phenomena and the differences between them using...

 Edwin Hubble
Edwin Hubble
Edwin Powell Hubble was an American astronomer who profoundly changed the understanding of the universe by confirming the existence of galaxies other than the Milky Way - our own galaxy...


Hubble's orbit outside the distortion of Earth's atmosphere
Earth's atmosphere
The atmosphere of Earth is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention , and reducing temperature extremes between day and night...

 allows it to take extremely sharp images with almost no background
Background (astronomy)
In astronomy, background commonly refers to the incoming light from an apparently empty part of the night sky.Even if no visible astronomical objects are present in given part of the sky, there always is some low luminosity present, due mostly to light diffusion from the atmosphere...