Sacred Texts  Esoteric & Occult   Mysteries
Buy CD-ROM   Buy Books about UFOs
Index  Previous  Next 

Is NASA covering up Hubble pictures?

                              ³  ³
                              ³  ³
                 Ί   T R U S T   N O   O N E   Ί
                              ³  ³
                              ³  ³
                            /      \               //======//
      ===\\                /        \             //     //
          \\              /          \           //====//
         ==\\            +------------+              ///
Things to beware of in 1997:

Govermental attempts to control or legislate the 'net'; remember that 
control is just a synonym for 'manipulate'!


                    Is NASA covering up Hubble pictures?


From the Hubble Space Telescope "Call for Observing Proposal" manual:

     "The telescope does not generally observe targets within 50
     degrees of the Sun [...]. When the scientific justification is
     compelling, time critical observations of solar-system objects
     lying between 45 and 50 degrees from the Sun may be carried out."

Keeping this limitations in mind, here is a chronology of the HST

   * Some images obtained in September and October 1995 (cf below).
   * The comet was in the forbidden 50 degree region from early November
     1995 until early March 1996
   * In March 1996, all the available observing time was focused on Comet
   * HST performed some observations in April, May, June, July, September,
     October (the observing log is available).
        o The April--June images looked the same as those of fall 1995, so
          there was no urgency to process/release them.
        o The comet started to develop some nice jets in July 1996
        o Most of the comet scientist were preparing and attending
          scientific meetings in Europe during the summer.
        o In response to enquiries in October (at the time of the American
          Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Science meeting),
          H.Weaver (P.I. of the HST program) processed some of the latest
          images an put them on the Web; they are also shown below.
   * Late October 96: the comet enters again the 50deg. exclusion limit. It
     will not leave it until August 1997. In March 1997, the comet will be
     at 46 deg from the Sun, and therefore may theoretically be observed.
     However, the second HST servicing mission is scheduled for February
     1997, and it is unlikely that the telescope will be ready in time to
     observe Hale Bopp.

There were also many questions about the 1 year proprietary period on HST
data. The Principal Investigator (P.I.) and his team have proposed a
project to the Space Telescope Science Institute (ST-ScI). Such a proposal
represents lots of time and efforts. If the proposal is among the bests of
all those that are received by the ST-Sci, that project is awarded some
observing time, and the PI must send a "Phase II" proposal, which describes
the observations in a VERY detailed way. This represents a HUGE amount of
work. When the observations are finally performed, the P.I. receives the
data at his institute. To transform these raw data into nice images is time
consuming. To measure them and analyze them scientifically can take many
months. The one year proprietary period ensures that the team who has done
all the work has a privileged access to the data, but that year is very
short in comparison to the amount of work that has to be done. On the other
hand, if the data contain something spectacular, the P.I. can decide to
produce quickly some nice-looking images and release them to the public.
These are widely available, but should not be confused with the real data,
which are usually not as pretty, but scientifically much more interesting
for the astronomers (and most probably boring for anybody else).
Copy of H.Weaver's page:


The above figure shows the temporal evolution of Comet Hale-Bopp over the
course of about 1 year, as observed by the Hubble Space Telescope. In the
far-left frame we caught the comet about 60 hours after a huge outburst of
dust, and the image shows an impressive spiral structure reminiscent of a
water sprinkler observed from above. The middle frame shows the comet
during a more quiescent phase in which hardly any structure is seen in the
coma without employing a strong intensity contrast in the display. The
image at the far-right shows that the comet has now taken on a "porcupine"
appearance as at least five jets can be seen sprouting from the nucleus.
The nucleus of the comet is located at the center of each frame, but most
of the light observed is due to scattered sunlight from fine dust grains
that are emitted from the nucleus and which produce the cometary "coma".

Each frame above is 10 arcsec across. For the far-left frame this
corresponds to 47,000 km at the comet, for the middle frame this
corresponds to 49,000 km at the comet, and for the far-right frame this
corresponds to 21,000 km at the comet. (The comet was much closer to the
Earth during the September 1996 observations.)

Olivier Hainaut

Created: Thu Nov 28 16:53:34 1996 --- Updated: Sat Dec 14 21:15:00 1996 --

Next: NASA Leaks