Humble Canadian Space Telescope

World's Smallest Space Telescope Measures the Stars

The first Canadian space telescope, and also the world's smallest space telescope, was launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia on June 30, 2003. The official name of the telescope is MOST or Microvariability and Oscillations of STars, but it's affectionately known as the Humble, a takeoff on the larger Hubble space telescope.

Humble Space Telescope Measures Stars

The Humble space telescope can make specialized astronomical observations beyond the capacity of any other instrument on earth or in space, including the Hubble space telescope.

The Humble space telescope measures the oscillation in light intensity of stars to determine their composition. The Humble space telescope is capable of measuring the ages of stars in our galaxy and can detect light reflected by planets beyond our solar system. The Humble space telescope allows scientists to collect data from stars 24 hours a day.

The Humble space telescope is unique because it collects measurements of stars from space rather than from earth. Earth-based telescopes can only get a partial view of a star due to the day-night cycle. The Humble space telescope will have a constant view of a star for up to seven weeks at a time. It will downlink data to ground stations at the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia.

Humble Space Telescope is World's Smallest

The Humble space telescope is about the diameter of a pie plate and is packed in a microsatellite the size and mass of a suitcase.

In orbit 820 km (about 510 miles) above the surface of the earth, the MOST microsatellite will circle the earth once every 100 minutes, at a speed of about 27,000 km per hour (16,777 mph). It will pass over ground stations in Toronto and Vancouver several times a day.

Space Telescope Built by Canadians

The prime contractor for the MOST microsatellite project is Dynacon Enterprises of Mississauga, Ontario.

The MOST microsatellite was built by the Institute for Aerospace Studies at the University of Toronto. The Humble space telescope was built by the University of British Columbia, with support from CRESTech and Spectral Applied Research of Toronto.