Hubble was designed as a general purpose observatory, meant to explore the universe in visible, ultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths. To date, the telescope has studied a vast array of cosmic objects, providing views that astronomers were unable to capture from the ground.
In addition to blocking certain wavelengths of light altogether, Earth’s atmosphere is made up of shifting pockets of air that cause the twinkling appearance of stars in the night sky. This motion blurs images captured by telescopes on the ground. Hubble was placed into orbit above the atmosphere to avoid these effects.
As the telescope orbits Earth, its mirror gathers light from the cosmos, collecting images and data. For some of deepest images, the telescope has stared at the same point in the sky for days to capture the dim glow of the distant universe.