DIY Astronomy

The Hubble telescope has so far cost between $5 billion and $6 billion. These two got images of the same or similar quality for less than $15,000.

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Color me sceptical. The

Color me sceptical. The title of the article says their pictures 'rival the quality of hubble'. Yes, they look equally awesome to an amateur like me. But knowing a little bit about optics and the way hubble works, it seems unlikely they got anywhere close to achieving the same quality, as measured in any sort of objective way. And they make no such claim on their own website, it seems.

That said: pretty damned awesome.

I was wondering too

Yes, these might be wider angle shots than comparable quality hubble pictures. There is no way to tell from the picture. It's like standing on you back porch and taking a picture of a leaf in the tree in your back yard vs. picture of a leaf on a tree several houses away. Both look like a picture of a leaf. Furthermore, stars are so far away they generally just look like points anyway. So it's harder to tell. Zoom in twice as close and it still looks like a point of light.

The purpose of Hubble is not

The purpose of Hubble is not to generate pretty pictures for posters or desktop backgrounds. Hubble is a scientific observatory. The amount of science that Hubble has done has been tremendous. And the science that Hubble has done that cannot be done at any other observatory has also been tremendous and has more than justified its cost (incidentally, $5 bil is not a proper estimate of the cost of Hubble because it includes sunk costs in Shuttle development and operations that don't belong on Hubble's balance sheet).

The idea that the fact that other folks can generate pretty astronomical pictures at much less cost affects the justification for Hubble's existence is ridiculous, ignorant, and intellectually shallow in the extreme.