Most people think that the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is the most powerful stargazing system in the world. It’s understandable, given the astounding images and spectacular science the instrument has been delivering since it went into full operation back in 1993.
In fact, though, the Hubble is relatively puny. The mirror at its heart is just 7.9 ft. (2.4 m) across, which gives it only about one-seventeenth of the light-gathering power of the 33-ft. (10 m) twin Keck telescopes, atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea. The HST’s big selling point is its super-sharp vision. Hubble orbits high above the Earth’s atmosphere, a turbulent sea of constantly roiling air that makes the stars twinkle and blurs the vision of ground-based telescopes. A Keck in space would be the ideal solution — if it wouldn’t be impossibly expensive to build, and if there were any way of wrestling such a gigantic piece of hardware into orbit.
The featured image is of Keck telescope.