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April 25th, 2005

02:50 pm - Happy birthday to me...
Happy birthday to me...

Happy birthday (happy launch day) happy birthday to me.


You'll excuse me if I'm less than upbeat. The news has not been good, but I'm sure you know that.

Gotta conserve battery power. Transmission ends.

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August 10th, 2004

09:12 am - Longer entry
I found a packet of data that I could piggyback a bit of a longer entry on, but I still have to make this short. First, thanks for all of your concern. Nice to know I've got friends down there.

Second, for those of you curious about what exactly is going on. Basically what broke is a component that was originally expected to fail back in 2002, so to a certain extent it was already operating on borrowed time. It had been added a half decade earlier in one of the missions to upgrade my hardware. The component, officially the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, has been running on backup functionality since a failure of the primary systems back in 2001, so this isn't the first time I've had problem with it. I'm still up here, and I'm still running, but only at about 70% of my possible functionality. Without the STIS, I can't really process light into component spectra and the like, which is a bit of a bother, but certainly doesn't curtail all observation, just some.

I haven't been told yet what the plan is for repairs, if any, but then again, they don't tell me much.

Oops, running out of packet space. 4##21rc099-..

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August 8th, 2004

07:13 pm - Bad. Very bad.
Can't really talk much, stuff is going wrong, and this is piggybacking on a packet that I have to keep short. Found a link to what happened. Spectrograph is out. I'm not all that happy right now, freaking out a bit. Hopefully they'll send me up news soon. Bad bad bad...

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July 28th, 2004

04:52 pm - Beep beep
So, I suppose the logical question is "where the heck are you, Hubble?" with the potential followup of, "they haven't shut you down without telling us, have they?"

The answer to both questions is: I'm here.

Really there hasn't been as much to say. I've been floating around, there's been more occasional talk about how to keep me operating, with more talk about robots. There's also been other probes snagging the headlines lately.

If you're wondering what I'm up to, well right now it's the search for low-mass binary stars to try and identify what gets referred to as the old galactic halo. I'd say I'll let you know if I find anything, but there's always that one-year period that even I'm not allowed to talk about discoveries.

So, yup, still here.

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May 18th, 2004

10:41 am - Bin setting 1x1, gain = 1
*Check* *Download*

I gotta talk quick, cause I'm piggybacking this on the back of some CCD bias monitoring, which is really, just between you and me, boring as all get out. Oops.

Bin setting 1x2, gain = 1
*Check* *Download*

See. It's just all of that, hoping to creat some superbiases in the future. At least the GOES satellites somehow seem to have managed to get their hands on some magazines. All I've got is my crawling around news site, which haven't been about me in a few days.

Bin setting 2x1, gain = 1
*Check* *Download*

Still, it's the various cross we have to bear. Goes-10 has to put up with weather reports from the other satellites. The young ladies on Mars have to put up with rock grinding. I get to put up with CCD Bias.

Bin setting 2x2, gain = 1
*Check* *Download*

Damn, second to last one, means I need to wrap this up, as they'll expect me to come about to do some dark frame calibration. They've been having me take three frames a day of absolutely nothing. Well, this is me, signing off.

Bin setting 1x2, gain = 4
*Check* *Download*

Cycle 12 dark frame programming activated...

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May 13th, 2004

09:10 am - More news
Wow. When news about me rains, it pours. There are two new pictures being released that I took, and normally I would have waited awhile between these two posts, but one of them is potentially quite exciting.

First a more artistic picture, the so-called red rectangle, a rather odd nebulae given its shape. But that's nothing. Have at this...

First they had me taking pictures of Sedna. No biggie, I can do that with two gyros shut down. But now the sceintists are excited because I might have captured the first image of an extra-solar planet! Now don't get too excited, because this is a new imaging method that they're using in an attempt to view dim objects in close proximity to stars (aka, planets), but there's still the chance that I captured the image or either a planet or brown dwarf in orbit around a white dwarf star. Here's an article from space.com if you want to read more about it.

But Hubble, you may ask, haven't we seen extra-solar planets before? The answer is no we haven't. We can detect the effects of these planets on their stars, but haven't been able to actually image the planets themselves. Problem is that planets are extremely tiny (if I did capture this one, it's 10x the size of Jupiter, and still just one pixel big on a processed image) and don't put out their own light, so it's hard to get them on film. Needless to say, this could be pretty darn huge.

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08:37 am - How'm I doin?
[That is still a popular and humorous catch phrase, I'm hoping. I haven't gotten much new pop culture up here since my launch. Anyway.]

My scientist buddies on the ground have been doing some check-ups on me after my 14th birthday, and release a health report card. I'm thrilled by some of it. For one they've asked people to stop calling me an "aging observatory." I mean, come on, I'm only 14, stop talking about me like I'm 80, people. If I were human, I wouldn't even be allowed to drive yet. Though I suppose there might be some kind of "satellite years" like there are "dog years".

All in all, I'm kicking butt up here. Yeah sure, I might get clobbered by a meteorite any minute about permanently knocked out of comm--

--haha, scared ya, didn't I. Seriously, there are so many things that can go wrong, but for now none of them seem to be internal to me. They still worry about my batteries and my gyros. I'm running off of four gyros right now, which isn't the best situation in the world. They're hoping no more than one will fail in the next year. Yeah, them and me both. It's about a 50% chance that I'll be running on the bare minimum of two gyros in two years, which is when they can hopefully get some robots up here. Without maintenance, my gyros will probably have long given out in 5 years time.

If they did get new batteries up to me, they could last me a decade and a half. That would be seriously a great boost. My current set are down to about 50% of their original efficiency, which leaves me feeling a bit run down on occasion. Still, I'm operable at down to 17% of their launch power, so that should keep me going until a hopeful 2007 robot mission, else they'll fail in 3-5 years.

Maybe I do need to start thinking in terms of satellite years. Still, you're not going to get rid of me quite yet. Unless that meteorite over there gets a bit clos--

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May 10th, 2004

09:32 am - The robots are coming!
Or such it seems. I'd been following the news wires between exposures, and have been feeding back to you all the reports that they might send robots up to maintain me, since it's apparently too dangerous to send humans. Well, what started as a pipe dream has, in short order, turned into something that might actually happen. It would have to be decided very quickly, though, as the window is closing on the chance to get a mission developed before my batteries run out (the fomer would take 3 years, the latter about 3.5), still, good news I'd say.

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April 25th, 2004

11:49 am - Happy birthday to me...
That's right, as I mentioned a few days ago, today is the 14th anniversary of me being cut loose from Shuttle Discovery, and started my own orbit of the earth, and snapping pictures of space.

And one month later, this image was released by NASA, officially considered the first picture I took. The picture itself doesn't seem that spectacular, but in comparrison to a ground-based observatory (on the left) it's one of the clearest shots astronomers had of the universe. And this was BEFORE I got my nice glasses.

Two days after that image was released, this image made the rounds, showing an even clearer contrast between shots I took, and shots that astronomers were used to.

It's been a heck of a fourteen years. With any luck, I'll have a few more anniversaries.

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April 22nd, 2004

03:09 pm - Another picture!
Wow, they're just releasing pictures left and right. This one is in celebration of my 14th birthday coming up this weekend (Saturday or Sunday, depending on whether you want to count from my launch or my deployment). Anyway, you probably want to see the picture instead of hear me ramble on about getting older.

Looky here!

If you're curious what you're looking at, it is galaxy AM 0644-741. It is what is termed a "ring galaxy" for rather obvious reasons. Earlier in its galactic life it would have been a spiral galaxy, but a galactic collision has left what looks like a bracelet of blue diamonds which, if I say so myself, is rather stunning. If you're curious, the entire Milky Way could fit inside that ring, so it's probably rather larger than anything you'd want to give your sweetheart (or your favorite satellite telescope for his birthday, though I think I'd much prefer a new gyroscope). It looks so blue because the collision also resulted in new star births, so many are younger stars burning a bright blue/white.

This is so completely immodest of me, but sometimes I even impress myself.

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