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"A Behind the Scenes look at the Hubble Space Telescope Operations"
JANUARY MEETING via ZOOM (ID & Password Required)
Saturday, January 2, 2021 at 7 PM
Topic: "A Behind the Scenes look at the Hubble Space Telescope Operations"
Speaker: Mike Wenz, Lead Optical Telescope Engineer on Hubble for Lockheed Martin
Many people have seen the wonderful pictures that the Hubble Space Telescope has produced over the 29 years of it's operation so far. However, few people have seen what is truly involved in the day to day operation of a telescope that has been called a National Treasure. This talk will take a look behind the scenes and explain how the telescope is operated and what it takes to make the science observations that lead to all of the discoveries Hubble has been involved in. It will show what is involved in keeping the telescope functioning as it continues to age and the hardware and instruments on board gets older and older. If you have ever wondered how Hubble can point at and track objects with milliarcsecond accuracy or what Hubble does during meteor showers or when space "junk" is on a collision course with the telescope then this talk will provide you with those answers. The discoveries that the Hubble Space Telescope has made over the years have revolutionized how we view and understand the universe that we live in. The stories of how those discoveries are made day after day is one few people get to hear.
Mike Wenz is the Lead System Engineer of the Optical Telescope Assembly on the Hubble Space Telescope. He is responsible for the three Fine Guidance Sensor instruments on Hubble which allow the telescope to point and guide with the extreme accuracy that is needed to perform the science observations that the telescope has become famous for. He has worked on the Hubble Space Telescope for 27 years and was involved in all 5 of the Servicing Missions performed by the Space Shuttle. Mike is intimately involved with the day to day operations of the telescope and is the one responsible to investigate any pointing problems or issues that come up on a daily basis. Mike has used the information provided by the Fine Guidance Sensors to serendipitously discover hundreds of new double stars and was involved in a study using the Fine Guidance Sensors that led to the discovery of the smallest Kuiper Belt object ever seen. Mike has been an amateur astronomer for over 44 years and is currently very involved in doing high resolution solar and lunar imaging (with the occasional planetary imaging session thrown in here and there). Back when he was first getting started in amateur astronomy 44 years ago he would attend some of the Skyscrapers meetings and events.
Date: Saturday, 1/2/2021
Time: 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM Eastern