Zimmerman: The Universe in a Mirror
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Robert Zimmerman, The Universe in a Mirror : The Saga of the Hubble Telescope and the Visionaries who Built It. Princeton, N.J. ; Woodstock : Princeton University Press, 2008. xv + 287 pages; 16 pages of plates; illustrations; includes bibliographical references and index.
This book is an honest history of how the Hubble was built, giving credit to all of the nameless scientists who helped to create, build and maintain it over a period of several decades. I have been fascinated by the pictures that have been taken with the Hubble over the years and felt compelled to read this book.
The Hubble Telescope was first conceived in the 1940s and 1950s. In the 1960s it was designed and in the 1970s and 1980s it was built. In the 1990s it was repaired. In 2010 it is expected to be abandoned, with research for the creation of new telescopes already begun. Hubble's failures are also discussed in depth with much of the blame naturally being placed on NASA.
The science we have learned through it's pictures has exceeded all expectations. Strangely enough, there isn't much interest among astronomers to build a replacement but instead there is more interest in building other types of telescopes.
The Universe in a Mirror is an important contribution to the history of solar exploration. It is essential reading for anyone interested in astronomy.
-- Notes by VS