The cover image of the 2022 Hubble Calendar. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Z. Levay

2022 Hubble Calendar Reveals the Wonders of the Cosmos

See 12 of Hubble's breathtaking photographs in this year's ESA/Hubble Calendar.

Hubble holds the record for the longest operation among space telescopes, operating in low-earth orbit for more than 31 years. This was achieved thanks to several flights of astronauts to it on shuttles, which carried out repairs and replacement of many blocks and instruments of the telescope.

After the shutdown of the space shuttle program, repairs in orbit are no longer carried out. Nevertheless, the telescope is still working, despite frequent failures of some of its instruments.


Hubble’s mission was extended until 2026

Another five-year extension of the telescope under NASA’s contract with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore ended on June 30, 2021. As Hubble continues to make scientific discoveries, it was decided to renew this contract again until June 30, 2026, while the total cost of the project increased to $ 2.4 billion.

It is expected that this will not be the last extension of the telescope’s work – NASA experts hope that in the future the Hubble will work in tandem with the James Webb telescope, which will be launched into space in late December. In this case, the Hubble can operate until 2030–2040, but if the technical condition of the observatory becomes critical, it will be de-orbited into the earth’s atmosphere, where it will burn up.

Recent malfunctions and repairs

After three decades in low-earth orbit, it is normal to expect certain issues with equipment. Since the last time the telescope was serviced by astronauts in 2009, its equipment is gradually degrading and malfunctions of the observatory are becoming more frequent.

In particular, in the second half of 2021, two major disruptions occurred at once, the last of which began at the end of October. It was caused by multiple errors in the synchronization of scientific instruments with data exchange systems; since then, the telescope has not conducted scientific observations, being in a safe mode.

The process of restoring the work of the Hubble was carried out by the engineers this time in stages – scientific instruments were switched on one by one, so that problem blocks could be quickly identified.

On November 7, the ACS (Advanced Camera for Surveys) survey camera was turned on, on November 25 – the WFC 3 camera was launched, and on November 30 – the COS spectrograph also returned to operation.

On December 6, a team of specialists restored the operation of the STIS (Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph) spectrograph, thus all four active Hubble scientific instruments are working again and collecting data. There were no more sync errors. All instruments are expected to receive software updates in mid-late December to ensure that such failures do not happen again.

In the meantime, we can enjoy the new 2022 ESA/Hubble Calendar, which is available for download from the official ESA website.

Let’s see the images below.

The month of January is illustrated with this image of supernova remnant 1E 0102.2-7219, located 200,000 light-years from us. Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Banovetz and D. Milisavljevic (Purdue University)
The month of January is illustrated with this image of supernova remnant 1E 0102.2-7219, located 200,000 light-years from us. Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Banovetz and D. Milisavljevic (Purdue University)
The month of February includes an image of an Einstein ring known as GAL-CLUS-022058s. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, S. Jha
The month of February includes an image of an Einstein ring known as GAL-CLUS-022058s. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, S. Jha
March includes an image of a pair of interacting galaxies called Apr 86, located 220 million light-years away. Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA, Dark Energy Survey, J. Dalcanton
March includes an image of a pair of interacting galaxies called Apr 86, located 220 million light-years away. Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA, Dark Energy Survey, J. Dalcanton
The April image in the 2022 ESA/Hubble Calendar depicts the 'final moments' of the massive star AG Carinae. Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA, A. Nota, C. Britt
The April image in the 2022 ESA/Hubble Calendar depicts the ‘final moments’ of the massive star AG Carinae. Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA, A. Nota, C. Britt
May's image is of a massive galaxy cluster named ACO S 295 and you can see countless galaxies of all shapes and sizes. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, F. Pacaud, D. Coe
May’s image is of a massive galaxy cluster named ACO S 295 and you can see countless galaxies of all shapes and sizes. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, F. Pacaud, D. Coe
In this image from the June section of the 2022 ESA/Hubble Calendar, we see the open star cluster NGC 330, which is located in the Small Magellanic Cloud. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Kalirai, A. Milone
In this image from the June section of the 2022 ESA/Hubble Calendar, we see the open star cluster NGC 330, which is located in the Small Magellanic Cloud. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Kalirai, A. Milone
Spiral galaxy NGC 2276, located about 120 million light-years away, photographed here by Hubble and used for the month of July in the calendar. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, P. Sell
Spiral galaxy NGC 2276, located about 120 million light-years away, photographed here by Hubble and used for the month of July in the calendar. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, P. Sell
August's image includes the nearby galaxy cluster dubbed MACSJ0138.0-2155, which is an incredible example of gravitational lensing as we see glimpses of a far more distant galaxy where stars no longer form. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Newman, M. Akhshik, K. Whitaker
August’s image includes the nearby galaxy cluster dubbed MACSJ0138.0-2155, which is an incredible example of gravitational lensing as we see glimpses of a far more distant galaxy where stars no longer form. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Newman, M. Akhshik, K. Whitaker
The 2022 Hubble Calendar image for September includes a globular cluster known as NGC 6717, which is located relatively close to Earth - at 20,000 light-years. Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA, A. Sarajedini
The 2022 Hubble Calendar image for September includes a globular cluster known as NGC 6717, which is located relatively close to Earth – at 20,000 light-years. Credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA, A. Sarajedini
October's image depicts the spiral galaxy called NGC4826, which is located 17 million light-years away from Earth. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-HST Team
October’s image depicts the spiral galaxy called NGC4826, which is located 17 million light-years away from Earth. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Lee and the PHANGS-HST Team
Another fascinating example of interacting galaxies in November's image - galaxies NGC 5953 and NGC 5954, collectively known as Apr 91. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Dalcanton
Another fascinating example of interacting galaxies in November’s image – galaxies NGC 5953 and NGC 5954, collectively known as Apr 91. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Dalcanton
The last month in the 2022 Hubble Calendar includes an image composed after the annual 'grand tour of the outer solar system', which includes the latest images of the gas giants. Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center), and M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley) and the OPAL team
The last month in the 2022 Hubble Calendar includes an image composed after the annual ‘grand tour of the outer solar system’, which includes the latest images of the gas giants. Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center), and M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley) and the OPAL team

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Sources:

Adkins, J. (2021, November 1). NASA returns Hubble to full science operations. NASA.
Adkins, J. (2021, November 16). NASA extends Hubble Operations Contract, provides Mission Update. NASA.
ESA. (n.d.). Release of the 2022 ESA/Hubble Calendar.

Written by Vladislav Tchakarov

Hello, my name is Vladislav and I am glad to have you here on Curiosmos. As a history student, I have a strong passion for history and science, and the opportunity to research and write in this field on a daily basis is a dream come true.

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