NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has taken many amazing pictures during its lifetime – here are five of the most insane.
The Hubble Space Telescope (or simply Hubble for short) was first conceived in the 1940s, and was launched by the US space agency on April 24, 1990.
Named after astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble (1889-1953), the instrument currently hovers about 340 miles (547 km) above the Earth’s surface and completes 15 orbits a day.
It is one of NASA’s four large observatories, along with the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope.
Numerous scientific observations that have fostered man’s understanding of the universe can be credited to Hubble.
And although the telescope’s list of achievements is long, some of its most notable achievements include helping astronomers determine the age of the universe and observe the rate at which it is expanding.
Nasa has called the instrument one of humanity’s greatest scientific inventions.
Since its launch, the device has made more than a million observations.
Many of them include detailed images of the birth and death of stars and galaxies billions of light-years away.
Below we share some of the most overwhelming photos the device has taken in the past decade.
1. The Butterfly Nebula (2020)
Perhaps one of the most breathtaking images of NGC 6302 or the “Butterfly Nebula”, this photograph was released by Nasa on June 18, 2020.
It depicts the butterfly nebula across a full spectrum of light, from near-ultraviolet to near-infrared to help “scientists better understand the mechanics of working in its technicolor ‘wings’ of gas,” Nasa said.
The star / stars in its center are responsible for the wing of the nebula, which are areas of heated gas at more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
NGC 6302 is located between 2,500 and 3,800 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius.
2. The Saturn Opposition (2018)
One of the most iconic images of Saturn was taken by Hubble.
The image was released by Nasa on July 26, 2018 and provides a detailed image of Saturn’s magnificent ring system.
Saturn was only about 1.36 billion miles from Earth when this image was taken – it’s about as close as it ever gets to us.
The Veil Nebula (2015)
Released September 24, 2015, this image shows a slice of the expanding remnants of a supernova explosion from 8,000 years ago, Nasa said.
Called the Veil, space debris is about 2,100 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus, the Swan.
The entire fog spans 110 light-years across.
The Pillars of Creation (2015)
This image of part of the Eagle Nebula was released by Nasa on January 5, 2015.
Hubble scientists took the image in near-infrared light to reveal incredible star details behind the nebula, made of gas and dust clouds.
New stars can also be seen at the top of the bars, which cannot be seen in visible light images.
5. Herbig-Haro Jet HH24 (2015)
Nasa described this image as “a cosmic, double-bladed lightsaber.”
In the center of the image, a newborn star, partially blocked by dust, shoots out luminescent twin rays.
The photo was released on December 17, 2015, just before the release of the movie Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
“Science fiction has been an inspiration to generations of scientists and engineers, and the Star Wars movie series is no exception,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.
“There is no stronger argument for the motivating power of real science than the discoveries that come from the Hubble Space Telescope as it unravels the mysteries of the universe.”
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