What Does the Hubble Telescope Look Like from Earth

What Does the Hubble Telescope Look Like from Earth?

Have you ever wondered what the great Hubble Telescope looks like when viewed from our planet? Well, get ready to go on a fascinating journey as we explore the wonders of this astronomical marvel!

The Hubble Telescope moves around the Earth per second at a speed of 5 miles. So, as a result, the telescope can be seen from the Southern Cross in Australia at a magnitude of 1.6 as it shines as vividly as the Gamma Crucis.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the telescope and explore what it looks like from the Earth.

Why Can the Hubble Telescope Not Be Seen Clearly From Earth?

The Orbit

The Hubble Telescope is a large cylindrical structure floating through space while capturing images of the cosmos. Even though the Hubble Telescope weighs as much as 30,000 kg and is the length of a big bus, it is not visible to the naked eye from Earth. This is due to the gasses in the atmosphere on Earth blocking the light that arrives from space.

The Hubble Telescope circles the Earth at a great height as well. In fact, at an altitude of slightly over 600 km, the space shuttle Discovery had initially deployed the Hubble Telescope in 1990. This was roughly how far the shuttle could travel. Most of the time, it traveled at an altitude of about 320 km, while it occasionally traveled as high as 400 km, like when it visited the International Space Station (ISS).

You can watch this video if you are curious to learn how the Hubble Telescope looks compared to the size of the Earth.

The Launch Site

Yes, the Hubble Telescope can not be seen clearly very often even though it orbits about the Earth 15 times a day. But, there are places on Earth where the Hubble Telescope can be viewed in a great way. These places have latitudes which are between 28.5° south and 28.5° north. This is due to the orbit of the Hubble Telescope having a 28.5° inclination toward the equator. This inclination corresponds to the latitude of Cape Canaveral in Florida. This is the location of the launch site of the Hubble Telescope.

The flight path of the Hubble Telescope actually extends as far north as Cape Canaveral and approximately as far south as Brisbane in Australia, which has a latitude of 27.5° south. So, northern Australia has excellent access to the Hubble Telescope and can look at the telescope in the sky as it passes directly above the area.

Unfortunately, those who live in southern Australia will struggle to look at it but it is not impossible for them to find it.

Why is The Hubble Telescope So Important?

Why is The Hubble Telescope So Important

A special fact about the Hubble Telescope is the fact that it inspects the universe from the orbit around the Earth. It was specifically designed to observe cosmic objects from that position without disturbance from Earth’s atmosphere, which may cloud light and prevent some wavelengths. American astronomer Edwin P. Hubble (1889–1953) was honored by NASA after the telescope was named the Hubble.

It is quite impressive judging by its shape and size alone. It also has several instruments which has helped the telescope to be able to collect such a wide variety of data. Since its mission’s inception in 1990, the Hubble Telescope has actually collected over 1.5 million findings. The data collected by the the Hubble Telescope has been used to publish over 19,000 scientific papers as well. This has made the Hubble Telescope one of the most prolific scientific instruments that has been ever made.

After accomplishing so much for modern science, many people have grown curious to know what the Hubble Telescope looks like in its glory. The telescope is a true feat of engineering, so it is very much worth it to try and see the space telescope for yourself.

How Can You See The Hubble Telescope?

How Can You See The Hubble Telescope
Hubble Space Telescope in its orbit 600 km above the Earth.

I will suggest two websites if you would like to see the Hubble Telescope in space – N2YO and Heavens-Above.

Both websites include built-in search features that will find most areas, and you can also customize the longitude and latitude for your precise location.

The Future of the Hubble Telescope

The Hubble Telescope had turned 33 years old in 2023. It was built by engineers to be easily modified and repaired when needed. Five shuttle missions have taken humans to the Hubble Telescope since the launch of the telescope in order to maintain and upgrade it. The Hubble Telescope was upgraded for the last time in 2009.

In the meantime, NASA and collaborators across the globe have launched the James Webb Space Telescope. It is larger than the Hubble Telescope and is also an infrared telescope. So, it will be able to see through the dust and clouds of space.

This telescope will travel around the Sun from a place beyond the Moon rather than the Earth. Like the Hubble Telescope, Webb will send back breathtaking photos that will aid in the discovery of other cosmic hidden treasures.


In conclusion, while the Hubble Telescope Telescope cannot be seen clearly from Earth due to atmospheric conditions and its high orbit, there are certain places on our planet where it can be viewed more clearly. Northern Australia, in particular, has excellent access to observing the Hubble Telescope as it passes directly above the area. But, even those who live in other regions can still find chances to spot the telescope with the help of websites such as N2YO and Heavens-Above.

Yes, while the Hubble Telescope Telescope itself may not be visible from most of the places on Earth, the stunning images it captures have changed our understanding of the universe. From vibrant galaxies to vivid nebulae, the Hubble Telescope’s visuals have inspired by offering glimpses of the beauty of our cosmic neighborhood.

While its final upgrade took place in 2009, the Hubble Telescope’s legacy will continue as NASA has launched the James Webb Space Telescope. As we eagerly anticipate the discoveries it will bring, we can marvel at the great contributions made by the Hubble Telescope in our ongoing mission for knowledge about the cosmos.

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