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article imageCelebrating Hubble Telescope's 30th Anniversary in images

By Karen Graham     Apr 25, 2020 in Technology
NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope's launch into space on April 24, 1990. And after 30 years, the images sent back by Hubble of the cosmos and universe are still a source of wonder.
According to NASA and the ESA, the birthday cake is what the agencies call a "tapestry of blazing starbirth." The space agencies have given the world a stunning new portrait of a firestorm of starbirth in a neighboring galaxy.
In this latest Hubble portrait, the giant red nebula (NGC 2014) and its smaller blue neighbor (NGC 2020) are part of a vast star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, located 163,000 light-years away. The image is nicknamed the "Cosmic Reef," because it resembles an undersea world.
The image is nicknamed the  Cosmic Reef   because NGC 2014 resembles part of a coral reef floating i...
The image is nicknamed the "Cosmic Reef," because NGC 2014 resembles part of a coral reef floating in a vast sea of stars. Some of the stars in NGC 2014 are monsters. The nebula's sparkling centerpiece is a grouping of bright, hefty stars, each 10 to 20 times more massive than our Sun.
NASA, ESA and STScI
The Hubble Space Telescope has not only revolutionized modern astronomy for scientists, but it has also taken the public, folks like you and me, on a marvelous journey of exploration and wonder. I, for one, am always amazed and speechless when new images are released - left to wonder at the beauty of creation.
Unlike any space telescope before it, Hubble made astronomy relevant, engaging, and accessible for people of all ages. The space telescope's iconic imagery has redefined our view of the universe and our place in time and space.
Hubble Space Telescope
Hubble Space Telescope. Shuttle astronauts extended and improved the observatory's capabilities through 2013.
Photo by NASA and STScI
"Hubble has given us stunning insights about the universe, from nearby planets to the farthest galaxies we have seen so far," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. "It was revolutionary to launch such a large telescope 30 years ago, and this astronomy powerhouse is still delivering revolutionary science today. Its spectacular images have captured the imagination for decades, and will continue to inspire humanity for years to come."
Hubble has racked up an impressive list of accomplishments, including measuring the expansion and acceleration rate of the universe. Hubble has also shown that black holes are common among galaxies while monitoring weather changes on planets across our solar system.
NASA handout photo of a stellar nursery located about 20 000 light-years from the planet earth in th...
NASA handout photo of a stellar nursery located about 20,000 light-years from the planet earth in the constellation Carina.
NASA/ESA
Perhaps the greatest accomplishment attributed to Hubble is that the space telescope has yielded to date 1.4 million observations and provided data that astronomers around the world have used to write more than 17,000 peer-reviewed scientific publications, making it the most prolific space observatory in history. Its archival data alone will fuel future astronomy research for generations to come.
And as a special surprise, NASA is celebrating the Hubble's 30th-anniversary milestone by letting you find out which "cosmic wonder"[url=http://wwwhttps://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/what-did-hubble-see-on-your-birthday t=_blank] it spotted on your birthday. All you have to do is enter your month of birth and the day - then wait for the surprise image. I used my birthday, April 3.
This image of Jupiter was taken on April 3  2017  when the planet was closest to Earth in 2017. The ...
This image of Jupiter was taken on April 3, 2017, when the planet was closest to Earth in 2017. The Great Red Spot appears on the left side, along with a smaller, reddish storm in the lower right dubbed "Red Spot Jr."
NASA
Kathryn Sullivan was one of the astronauts on board Space Shuttle Discovery when it released Hubble into its 612km-high orbit on April 25, 1990 - a day she recounts in a recent book, Handprints On Hubble.
"Hubble's scientific impact has just been immense. But what I had not really appreciated until I started writing my book was the extent to which Hubble - because of its gorgeous images and their mind-bending implications - has really permeated popular culture," she told BBC News.
This shows a mountain of dust and gas rising in the Carina Nebula. The top of a three-light-year tal...
This shows a mountain of dust and gas rising in the Carina Nebula. The top of a three-light-year tall pillar of cool hydrogen is being worn away by the radiation of nearby stars, while stars within the pillar unleash jets of gas that stream from the peaks.
NASA/ESO/STI
More about Hubble space telescope, 30th anniversary, James Webb Space Telescope, Cosmic Reef, NASA and ESA
 
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