Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Working on the Hubble

The orbiting Hubble telescope was recently repaired by a crew of astronauts from the Space Shuttle Endeavor. The Hubble is in a circular orbit 600 km above the surface of the earth. For half of the Hubble's orbital period it is in sunlight and for half it is in the darkness of the earth's shadow. As a result of the change in fit of the various parts of the Hubble due to heating and cooling of the telescope, the astronauts could only work on certain repairs while the Hubble was in darkness. Estimate how much time the astronauts had to work on these repairs before having to stop "for a sun-break".

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Page last modified October 15, 2002: GR05