NATIONAL NEWS

NASA Celebrates Hubble Telescope’s 30th Anniversary With New Image

Apr 24, 2020, 4:12 PM | Updated: 4:20 pm

A colorful image resembling a cosmic version of an undersea world teeming with stars is being relea...

A colorful image resembling a cosmic version of an undersea world teeming with stars is being released to commemorate the Hubble Space Telescope's 30 years of viewing the wonders of space. In the 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 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. The seemingly isolated blue nebula at lower left (NGC 2020) has been created by a solitary mammoth star 200,000 times brighter than our Sun. The blue gas was ejected by the star through a series of eruptive events during which it lost part of its outer envelope of material. (NASA, ESA & STScl)

(NASA, ESA & STScl)

GREENBELT, Md. – NASA officials released a never-before-seen image nicknamed the “Cosmic Reef” to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope.

The Hubble was carried into space by the space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990. Officials said the telescope “has been transformative for our civilization.”

“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.”

Officials said the Hubble has sent 1.4 million observations back to earth and over 17,000 peer-reviewed scientific publications have come from that data.

“Hubble’s top accomplishments include measuring the expansion and acceleration rate of the universe; finding that black holes are common among galaxies; characterizing the atmospheres of planets around other stars; monitoring weather changes on planets across our solar system; and looking back in time across 97% of the universe to chronicle the birth and evolution of stars and galaxies.”

Officials expect the Hubble to remain operational through the 2020s, thanks in part to five servicing missions from 1993 to 2009.

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NASA Celebrates Hubble Telescope’s 30th Anniversary With New Image